Story: Herons

White heron colony

White heron colony

In south Westland, the Waitangiroto River (right) and Waitangitaona River (centre) flow into the Tasman Sea just south of the larger, glacier-fed Whataroa River. Floods change the course of these waterways from time to time, and their position in this view differs considerably from what Gerhard Mueller saw when he described the location of the colony in 1865–66. The tidal lagoon at the mouth is an ideal feeding ground for white herons, which breed in the tall forest a few hundred metres up the Waitangiroto River. A little further south is the much larger Ōkārito Lagoon, offering over 3,000 hectares of shallow water and tidal mudflats for foraging.

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Department of Conservation
Reference: 10053992
Photograph by Philippe Gerbeaux

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How to cite this page:

Gerard Hutching, 'Herons - White herons – kōtuku', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 3 December 2021)

Story by Gerard Hutching, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015