• Scientific Name: Egretta sacra (Gmelin, 1789)
  • Polynesian Names: Otu’u – ‘otu’u (Society and Austral) – kotuku (Tuamotu) – matuku – matu’u (Marquesas)
  • Order Pelecaniformes
  • Family Ardeidae
  • Category: Large range Waterbirds

Apearance and identification

23 inches. Male and female identical in appearance. Multiphase species with individuals with white feathers or grey plumage. White egrets are more common in the Tuamotu where the sand is clear while the grey egrets dominate the volcanic islands, where they hunt on black sand beaches and mudflats. It is a large wading bird with yellow legs. Its beak is strong and straight and its colour varies from black to pink. Its very characteristic long neck is folded in flight and sometimes at rest. Its silhouette can then be confused in Tahiti with that of the Striated Heron (Green-backed Heron), Butorides striatus, whose neck is very short.

Videos

Voice

Caracteristics

Can be found everywhere in French Polynesia but also from India to New Zealand, Fiji and Micronesia.

Nests all year in trees and bushes, cliff cavities, sometimes on the ground in colonies of a dozen of individuals. Nests are 12 inches in diameter. They are often used from one year to another after a new supply of materials. Both sexes nurse 2-3 light blue eggs of 2 by 1.3 inches. The reproduction was studied in New Zealand where Incubation lasts 25-27 days. The young leave the nest 5-6 weeks after hatching.

Coral reefs, beaches but also valleys and rivers in the high islands.

Makes a guttural “croak» when disturbed and flees or on arrival at the nest.

Small fishes, crustaceans, insects and lizards.

Location

Can be found everywhere in French Polynesia but also from India to New Zealand, Fiji and Micronesia.

Breeding

Nests all year in trees and bushes, cliff cavities, sometimes on the ground in colonies of a dozen of individuals. Nests are 12 inches in diameter. They are often used from one year to another after a new supply of materials. Both sexes nurse 2-3 light blue eggs of 2 by 1.3 inches. The reproduction was studied in New Zealand where Incubation lasts 25-27 days. The young leave the nest 5-6 weeks after hatching.

Habitat
Coral reefs, beaches but also valleys and rivers in the high islands.
Voice

Makes a guttural “croak» when disturbed and flees or on arrival at the nest.

Food

Small fishes, crustaceans, insects and lizards.

Status and protection

Non threatened species and abundant in French Polynesia.
The species is classified as “Least Concern” (LC) on the IUCN Red List.

Original text by Caroline BLANVILLAIN – Supplements and update by various members of the SOP Manu.