Rufous Night-Heron

Nycticorax caledonicus pelewensis




Bitterns, Herons and Egrets (Ardeidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:

2 - 5

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Nest is built in a tree or bush over a body of water. In some areas they nest on the ground, under rocky overhangs or in caves.

Nest Material:

Sticks and twigs.


Most do not migrate



Rufous Night-Heron: Medium, stocky heron with black cap and two, long white plumes extending from rear of the head (during the breeding season). Nape, back, wings, and tail are red-brown, paler red-brown on sides of neck and breast. Throat, flanks, belly, and vent are brown-gray. White-gray around the eye, gray-olive lores. Medium-length, sharp, black bill with olive-gray base. Long, broad wings. Short, square tail. Medium, green-yellow legs and feet. Feeds on reptiles, small fish, and insects.

Breeding and Nesting

Rufous Night-Heron: Two to five white-green eggs are laid in an untidy platform nest constructed with sticks and twigs. The nest is built in a tree or bush over a body of water. In some areas, it also nests on the ground, under rocky overhangs, or in caves. The eggs are incubated by both sexes for 21 days. This species nests in colonies.

Foraging and Feeding

Rufous Night-Heron: Feeds on reptiles, amphibians, small fish, and insects. This heron species mostly forages at night in shallow water. It catches prey with a quick thrust of its bill after waiting for food items to appear at the edge of or near the surface of the water.


Rufous Night-Heron: In flight, emits loud "wock" or "quok." Also produces "rok" when alarmed and "wak-wak-wak-wak" while roosting.

Similar Species

Adult Black-crowned Night-Heron has a dark blue-black back, red irises, and lacks crown plumes while in Palau; juvenile is very rare in this range.

The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
The area on top of the head of the bird.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Large, conspicuous, showy feathers.
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X