Purfylle: Nankeen Night Heron

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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Nankeen Night Heron

Nankeen Night Heron Juvenile coming into his adult plumage - that's his foot he's holding up to his chest.

On one of our photography jaunts we stumbled across a night heron family of three. For such a large bird (60 cm / 24 inches) they are surprisingly hard to spot. 


Nankeen Night Herron juvenile and adult resting during the day

The juvenile Nankeen can be identified by it's more speckled plumage which keeps the young well camouflaged.

The colour of the juvenile Nankeen is very similar to that of the larger Bittern and they are often mis-identified until their adult plumage of cinnamon and buff with a black crown, comes through. Also often confused with the Striated Heron.

This young Nankeen has nearly all of his adult colouring but retains some of the streaks around his neck and chest.

This adult Nankeen is sporting a long spiky hair do or 'nuptial plumes'

In breeding season the adults sport 'nuptial plumes' that consist of three long spiky looking plumes from the back of the head. In the above shot you can see one of these plumes reaching down along the left hand side of the body.


The Nankeen is also known as the Rufous Night Heron. They can be found hunting during the day if the opportunity presents itself but one look at those huge eyes and you can tell they hunt after the sun goes down.


It wasn't until he put his foot down that we were sure that strange looking thing on his chest had been his foot. The foot up position is apparently a common roosting pose.

Juvenile Rufous Night Heron - Nankeen Night Heron

37 comments:

  1. Another round of the most exquisite photos, I'm sure you get right inside those birds thoughts with your photos.

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    1. It's comments like this that make me think that maybe those shots I was disappointed with but put up anyway because they were all I had of this unusual bird maybe were not as bad as I thought they were. Thank you, you made my day.

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  2. Well done for capturing him! Beautiful series of shots! #MySundayPhoto

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  3. I had wondered what kind of alien was bursting outta his chest! Lol
    Excellent photography as always, Stella.
    Melinda

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    1. Yes, we had a whole discussion about it and then a few photos later saw him with his other foot down. All speculations about twigs, parasites, deformities and aliens went out the window.

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  4. You are right - the camouflage is fab! What beautiful birds :) #mysundayphoto

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    1. I would never have seen them if Hubby hadn't spotted them and pointed them out.

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  5. What an unusual looking bird, I've never seen one before

    Thank you for linking up

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    1. I didn't even know they existed before we spotted them, hubby is the one with all the bird lore in this house.

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  6. wowzzers! so lovely! Is it the color of the birds or what, they look like they could be cuddly soft :) not that I would try to cuddle a wild bird but you know what i mean. Lovely photography! You should try doing a show, sell some of your photographs!

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    1. I think they look all soft and cuddly too. Oh, I don't think my photos are that good, you should see what my hubby can do with a camera! But thank you =)

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  7. Stunning shots Stella, what a beautiful bird! - Tasha

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    1. He's a bit special. I wonder if I will ever see another?

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  8. totally stunning shots, love the face it's pulling in the third photo!

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    1. He was having a really good look to see what on earth us humans were doing!

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  9. beautiful shots stella of a beautiful bird. yes i was thinking it was rather like a bittern.

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  10. Wow they are so pretty! How lucky that you have spotted them and have a chance to take these photos! #mysundayphoto

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    1. It was a real treat. I'm not sure we'll get the chance ever again.

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  11. What a fantastic spot! These birds are beautiful, and you got some amazing photos. I wondered if that was his foot in the first photo too :)

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  12. Wow! I had a hard time finding the 3rd in the first photo, so I see what you mean about them being hard to spot. Great photos!
    I hope you’ll drop by and share at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/10/a-visit-to-madame-tussauds.html

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    1. Hehehe, it's not in the shot, it's just off to the right. I couldn't get an angle that showed the whole family.

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  13. Incredible photos! Where were they taken? You really captured the essence of these magnificent creatures, and I love that you shared a bit about their habits and how to identify them. Such beauty!

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    1. The photos were taken in a park in Western Australia.

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  14. What lovely birds! I'm always amazed at how very close you make it seem - I'm never too good with shooting birds. I love that you were able to get such a range of shots!

    thank you for sharing with us at Photo Friday!

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    1. We were able to stand right at the bottom of the tree, so we were really close. But I totally had to crop those shots!

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  15. wow what a great find! I love the photo where it is looking at you like "what you looking at!" :p #AnimalTales

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    1. It's a great expression isn't it? If only I could understand what he was saying.

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  16. Those eyes really are something ... and you're right, they are hard to spot and only on my second look did I realise there are 2 birds in the second picture down. Is that a curled up foot on the front of the first heron?

    Thank you for adding a bird I have never heard of to #AnimalTales and I look forward to seeing more Australian beauties in 2016. Have a lovely Christmas (and don't get sunburnt LOL).

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  17. they are well camouflaged, such wonderful pictures, i particularly like the one where the heron is looking at you directly

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  18. He is so gorgeous! Your photos are awesome and thanks for the info about him.

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