Overview

Comprehensive Description

Bare part colours brighter during courtship, with iris orange. Juvenile has head all white and white carpal patch, which is only visible in flight.

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Distribution

Range

Locally from New Guinea to Indonesia and n Australia.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Distribution:


    N Australia and S Sulawesi; also New Guinea, Moluccas and Tanimbar Is, where probably non breeding visitor.


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Physical Description

Size

43-55 cm, 210-327 g

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Diagnostic Description

Bare part colours brighter during courtship, with iris orange. Juvenile has head all white and white carpal patch, which is only visible in flight.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Source: IUCN

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Mainly coastal, occuring in grasland and swamps and salt or fresh water, mangroves, mudflats, sandbanks, also freshwater courses, lakes, rice fields. In NG forms feeding aggregations on recently burnt land. Sometimes feeds on dry land - Ocassionaly up to 1650 m in highlands on New Guinea.

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Dispersal

Poorly known movements. Locally common.

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Trophic Strategy

Mainly aquatic insect, with crustaceans, amphibians, small molluscs and small fish. Sometimes scavenges other waterbirds. Often feed alongside livestock. Active feeder, not infrequently capturing prey by aerial techniques. Diurnal. In NG records of solitary adults defending feeding territories.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

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Reproduction

Nesting occurs during summer monsoon, mainly Feb-Apr, but sometimes Jan_jun. Generally forms large colonies up to 1200 nests, often mixed with other herons, ibises or cormorants. 2-5 m above water, 2-4 eggs. Chicks have yellowish brown to white down with dusky flanks.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Not Threatened.

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Population

Population Trend
Stable
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Wikipedia

Pied heron

The pied heron (Ardea picata), also known as the pied egret[4] is a bird found in coastal and subcoastal areas of monsoonal northern Australia as well as some parts of Wallacea and New Guinea.

Taxonomy[edit]

Pied heron (juvenile) - Fogg Dam - Middle Point - Northern Territory - Australia

The species was originally described by ornithologist John Gould in 1845. Some taxonomists put this species in the genus Egretta. There are no recognised subspecies.[5]

Pied heron feeding - Fogg Dam - Middle Point - Northern Territory - Australia
Pied heron in breeding plumage - Fogg Dam - Middle Point - Northern Territory - Australia

Description[edit]

It is a small heron, 43–55 cm long, with dark slaty wings, body, and crested head, with a white throat and neck. The appearance is similar to the white-necked heron.[4] Males (247–280 g) are heavier than females (225–242 g), but the two are similar in appearance.[6]

Immature birds lack the crest as well as the dark colouring on the head and may look like small versions of the white-necked heron. The juveniles were once classified as a separate species.[6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Its habitat mainly comprises a range of wetlands and wet grasslands.

Behaviour[edit]

Call[edit]

The call of the pied heron is a loud 'awk' or 'ohrk' in flight.[4] Soft cooing is given around the nest.[6] Little else is known about vocalisations.[6]

Breeding[edit]

Breeding takes place from February to May.[4] It nests in trees above the water, including mangroves, often colonially with other species of heron. 1–2 blue-green eggs are laid in a shallow platform of sticks.[4]

Feeding[edit]

It feeds on insects, frogs, crabs, fish and other small aquatic animals. Insects are the most important source of food.[6] It may feed alone or in groups of up to a thousand individuals.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Ardea picata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ BirdLife International (2008). Ardea picata. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 9 February 2009. Database entry includes justification for why the species is listed as least concern.
  3. ^ BirdLife International (2006) Species factsheet: Ardea picata. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=3727 on 25/02/2010
  4. ^ a b c d e Pizzey, Graham; Knight, Frank (1997). Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Sydney, Australia: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 111. ISBN 0-207-18013-X. 
  5. ^ "Pied Heron, Egretta picata, Taxonomy". Retrieved 25 February 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Kushlan, James Anthony; Hancock, James, Thelwell, David (2005). The Herons. Oxford University Press. p. 170. ISBN 0-19-854981-4. 

Bibliography[edit]

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