Pied Heron (Egretta picata)

Pied Heron

[order] CICONIIFORMES | [family] Ardeidae | [latin] Egretta picata | [authority] Gould, 1845 | [UK] Pied Heron | [FR] Aigrette pie | [DE] Elsterreiher | [ES] Garceta Pia | [NL] Bonte Reiger


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Egretta picata AU Sulawesi to n Australia


Egretta is a genus of medium-sized herons, mostly breeding in warmer climates. Representatives of this family are found in most of the world, and the Little Egret, as well as being widespread throughout much of the Old World, has now started to colonise the Americas. Little Egret Egretta garzetta in Kolleru, Andhra Pradesh, India.These are typical egrets in shape, long-necked and long-legged. There are few plumage features in common, although several have plumes in breeding plumage; a number of species are either white in all plumages, have a white morph (e.g. Reddish Egret), or have a white juvenile plumage (Little Blue Heron). The breeding habitat of Egretta herons is marshy wetlands in warm countries. They nest in colonies, often with other wading birds, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs.

Physical charateristics

The Pied Heron is grey with a yellow bill and legs. The top of the head and crest is black and face and neck are white. Immatures are brown or grey above with no crest and have white head, neck and underside.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 43 cm size max.: 55 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


Australasia : Sulawesi to North Australia. coastal northern Australia from Kimberleys in Western Australia round to Townsville in Queensland as well as some parts of Wallacea and New Guinea.


Pied Herons can be found in wetlands, lakes, lagoons, estuaries, mudflats and sewage farms


The Pied Heron builds a platform of sticks in a tree. They nest in colonies – often with other species of heron. Three to six blue-white eggs are laid.

Feeding habits

It feeds on insects, frogs, crabs, fish and other small aquatic animals. Insects are the most important source of food. It may feed alone or in groups of up to a thousand individuals.

Video Pied Heron


copyright: Helmut Schenkel Brunner


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Pied Heron status Least Concern


Poorly known. In Australia, sedentary with some erratic movements; regular non-breeding visitor to Innisfail (Queensland) in Oct-Feb. Part of population performs post-breeding dispersal or migration to Indonesia and New Guinea during Australian dry season between Mar/May and Dec/Feb. Occasional in SE Australia, during flood years; accidental to S Borneo.

Distribution map

Pied Heron distribution range map

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