New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

White-Faced Heron

Scientific name:

 Ardea novaehollandiae novaehollandiae



Conservation status:

 Native. Not threatened

Mainland status:

 Widespread and common 


 67cm, 550g 




 June - October


 Fish, frogs, invertebrates, mice

White faced heron - photographer: Max McRaeSelf introduced from Australia the white-faced Heron is now the most common heron, having benefited from the widespread conversion of forest to farmland.

This slim bluish-grey heron has a white face, chin and upper throat, and a black bill and greenish-yellow legs. Strap-shaped plumes which form in the breeding season are long and pale grey on the back and short and pinkish brown on the chest. The call is a guttural croak.

The diet is fish, frogs and tadpoles, aquatic and pasture insects, spiders, earthworms and mice.

Breeding takes place between June and February with the peak about October.The nest is an untidy bundle of sticks and twigs usually high up in a large tree. Both adults incubate for about 26 days and usually two chicks are raised and fed by both parents.

Although white-faced herons are extremely common on the mainland close to Tiritiri Matangi, they are not often seen on the Island because the habitats they most favour (mudflats and pasture) are not present there.

Learn more about the white-faced heron at New Zealand Birds Online

White faced heron - photographer Dr Kerry RodgersPair of white faced heron - photographer: Max McRae

Photography by: Max McRae © (Top Right, Bottom Left) and by Dr Kerry Rodgers © (Bottom Right)

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking.