Matuku moana have increased in numbers in NZ over the last fifty years. Before that they were rarely seen here but now are more common than in their homeland of Australia. They are tall, regal birds with long, pale yellow legs, a pale, grey-blue body and a white face. Their necks are curved and they seem to walk without bobbing their heads. When they fly their heads are tucked back against their bodies, their necks folded into an S-shape and their legs trail. Their wings are big and they have a slow wing beat. They step slowly in shallow water hunting for water creatures, which they stab with their long beak.
They prefer mudflats and open pasture lands. They build their nests at the top of tall pine or macrocarpa trees and lay up to five pale, green-blue eggs although normally only two chicks are raised. They can live more than twenty years.
New Zealand has several native herons, bitterns and egrets.
Matuku moana websites
- Radio NZ Bird Watching – White-faced heron
- NZ Birds Online white-faced heron page
- Project Janszoon white-faced heron image
- Te Waihora bird watch white-faced heron page
- Wildscreen Arkive white-faced heron page
- Oiseaux-birds white-faced heron page