Nesting of Little Heron

posted in: Heron-Egret-Bittern, Nesting | 0

Mark Chua came across the nest of the Little Heron (Butorides striatus) in July 2006, built about 10 metres up in a tree. There were actually three nests around, of which only one had two chicks in it. An adult bird was perching nearby, keeping an eye on the nest and chasing away birds that came too close. In due course the other adult returned with food to feed the growing chicks.

The Little Heron is a common resident that is found around muddy coasts, mangroves, swamps, in fact anywhere there is water. It breeds more or less throughout the year. The nest is a simple platform of loose twigs, lodged between branches of a tree around its watery habitat. A full clutch consists of three greenish blue eggs and usually all the chicks fledge. Both parents help in incubation and looking after the chicks.

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According to an account by Ria Tan, the chicks remain in the nest until they fledge. Only when disturbed will they scramble out and cling to branches. The rescued chick described earlier could had been dislodged from the nest because of disturbance.

In the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, nests are often seen in buta-buta trees (Exocaecaria agallocha) around mangroves, at a height of about 5 metres. In a 2000 article published in Wetlands, RK Ramakrishnan reported seeing two chicks in the nest covered with yellow downs. They started “moving around the tree in their newly attained plumage of dull brown upperparts, streakier and less mottled lower parts” two weeks later.

Mark Chua
Singapore
December 2007

Reference:
Ramakrishnan, R.K. (2000). Nesting Little Herons of Sungei Buloh. Wetlands 7(2):

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