The diet of the striated heron consists mainly of fish, but it is an opportunistic feeder and will also take insects, worms, crustaceans, frogs, reptiles and even other birds. It usually feeds alone, often standing for long periods in or next to water, waiting to strike at prey (2). This species has also been observed to use an ingenious ‘fishing’ technique, dropping insects or leaves onto the surface of the water to attract prey, a method known as baiting (3) (6).
The striated heron does not appear to have a specific breeding season, nesting year-round in some areas, although often with a peak during the rains. The species may breed up to three times a year, constructing a nest in shrubs, bushes or trees, overhanging the water. At the nest site, the male performs an elaborate courtship display involving crest-raising, neck fluffing and ‘snap and stretch’ displays, in which the bird moves its head down to its feet and snaps the beak, before stretching the neck straight up and back. The courting pair then perform this ‘snap and stretch’ display together. The female striated heron lays three to five eggs, which usually take around 21 to 25 days to hatch. Both adults tend to the young, and it is quite common for this care to continue for quite some time after the young leave the nest. Most striated heron pairs nest alone, although loose breeding colonies do sometimes occur (2) (3).