Nankeen Night Herons (Nycticorax caledonicus)

Nankeen Night Herons (Nycticorax caledonicus)

The Nankeen Night Herons, Nycticorax caledonicus, also commonly referred to as the Rufous Night Heron, and in Melanesia as Melabaob, is a medium-sized heron.

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Nankeen Night Herons Looking Foods
Nankeen Night Herons Looking Foods

Distribution / Range

It is found throughout much of Australia except the arid inland, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Melanesia.

A small colony has also been established near Wanganui, New Zealand


The Nankeen Night Herons stands about 56 – 66cm tall.

It is not strictly nocturnal. It often feeds during the day, especially during wet weather.

Diet / Feeding

The bird is dependent on a diet of small fish, reptiles, insects, and sometimes eggs.

It can be seen around freshwater rivers, lakes, bulrushes, estuaries, harbors, and in residential fishponds for goldfish.

Calls / Vocalizations

Voice: Loud “K-oark”, deep-throated rumbling at roost.

The Nankeen Night Heron Looking On The Ground
The Nankeen Night Heron Looking On The Ground


Nesting: Primarily breeds September – April. A nest platform is built of sticks in a high tree near water, in communal groups.

Eggs: 2-5 light green. Incubation 22 days. Fledge 42-49 days.


Widespread throughout its large range, the Nankeen Night Heron is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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