Ruth the rufous night heron
Also known as a nankeen night heron
I am Ruth the rufous night heron.
Some people think I'm anti-social, but it's just that I'm more of a night bird, so you won't often see me around the creek during the day.
If you happen to disturb me while I'm sleeping I will let out a loud skowk sound to try to scare you off.
As that doesn't always work, I will also hightail it to a safer place away from you.
How did I get my name?
I am commonly known as both a nankeen night heron and a rufous night heron. Nankeen is a durable brownish yellow cotton fabric originally hand-loomed in China. My breast colour is something like that original cloth.
Nankeen was named after the Chinese city of Nanking, where nankeen cloth was first made.
Rufous means reddish brown, or a sort of reddish-cinnamon colour. That too is close to my colour, so both names fit.
Where do I sleep and live?
Can you see me in the middle of the photo above standing on a dead branch? That's one of my resting spots at night before I heard off to find food. All the bottom part of the photo, under the dead branches, is water covered with vegetation, so no one can reach me easily. You won't often see there during the day though. This is a rare photo of me.
I sleep and roost either in the isolated shallows of the creek, often hidden by high grasses, or fairly high up in a tree overhanging the water near the cormorants' resting spot.
What do I eat?
Although I am called a night heron, and I do like to go out at night, you may see me in the early morning, or all day during rainy weather. The rain stirs up the prey I like, so I will forgo my day naps if it means I can get a feast of yummy food.
— Ruth the rufous night heron