The White-necked Heron Ardea pacifica is a very large heron that inhabits wetlands around Australia and is aptly named with its distinctive white neck. The only similarly looking heron is the Pied Heron, but that species stands at only 43-48cm instead of 75-100cm. The White-necked Heron eats crustaceans and during our stay at Corella Dam in Queensland the White-necked Herons were actively eating the red claw-freshwater crayfish in the lake. It was interesting watch them catch and eat the crustaceans and most people that were camping there for any length of time were also eating the freshwater crayfish and were setting traps continuously. The freshwater crayfish were growing in excess of 15cm, so an ample feed!

White-necked Heron devouring red claw

Bulge in the neck where the red claw is

White-necked Heron satisfied with the snack?!

White-necked Heron going in search of more red claw!

Although it was not particularly warm it was also interesting to watch the White-necked Herons sunbathe and the header photo shows an example of a White-necked Heron with its wings spread forward in what looks like rather an odd pose! You will note the Masked Lapwing nearby to give you the size perspective.

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!