The Striated Heron Butorides striata is generally found along the coast around Broome, but we have also had one in our garden in the past. We have also observed them at river crossings between Broome and Derby. They can be reliably found at Gantheaume Point feeding among the rocks, but if the tide is very high they go into the scrub on the cliffs until the tide turns. They can also be found within the vicinity of the Broome Bird Observatory in Roebuck Bay. There is an unlimited supply of mud-skippers in Roebuck Bay and these creatures are nourishment to Striated Herons. The Striated Herons wait patiently in the shade of the mangrove trees and then pounce on the unsuspecting mud-skippers. It often looks like the Striated Herons are taking on rather more than they can swallow!

Striated Heron waiting

Striated Heron eating a mud-skipper

Mud-skipper gone!

Another good place to find them around Broome is in the Port area in the mangroves near the Hovercraft Base. When you go looking for the Common Greenshank on the mud you need to look for the cryptically camouflaged Striated Herons in the mangrove trees. The Striated Herons are almost always there and it is a good spot for Eastern Reef Egrets too. In the header photo you can possibly see the Striated Heron hiding in the mangrove tree.

Striated Heron in the mangrove tree

If you happen to go down to the Broome Port when the tide is very high then the Striated Herons do have a problem. They can no longer be sneaky and hide in the base of the mangrove trees and you may be lucky enough to observe them sitting out the high tide at the top of the mangrove trees!

Striated Heron at high tide

Striated Herons are widespread across much of the world and are always interesting to observe with their sneaky ambush tactics. In the north of Australia you may even come across the rufous morph of the Striated Heron if you are lucky!

Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!