Short-legged Heron

This Striated Heron was spotted at the Coorana Crocodile Farm.

When we think of Herons, it would be unusual not to think of long necks, long legs and a slim body. However there is one member of the Heron family that doesn’t measure up to these criteria.

This bird is the Striated Heron, also known as the Mangrove Heron and to a lot of people, Mangrove Jack.

This Heron has shorter legs than the others. Its neck is not as long and as my illustration shows, its body is quite dumpy.

There are actually two forms of the Striated Heron, one being the Grey which is shown here and the other is called the Rufous. The Grey form is found all along the northern and eastern coastline of our continent while the Rufous is mainly in the far north of the Northern Territory.

They are generally found in the mud flats and similar type areas along the coast. Their food is comprised of any small sea creatures, insects and fish.

The bird pictured here was actually taking a big risk foraging where it was. I was visiting our famous Coorana Crocodile Farm and spotted it standing perfectly still just in from the edge of the bank. It was a fairly large area of water and there were a number of crocodiles either drifting along through the water or lying on a patch of land in the middle.

The Heron seemed to have no fear of them and was waiting perfectly still, head down in readiness to strike as if frozen to the spot where it was.

As well as photographing , I watched it for some time. It was still there when I moved on but all was still so I would assume it would know when to move if any of the crocodiles came too near.