Nankeen Night-Heron Feeding

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Nankeen Night-Heron Feeding
From: "Robyn" <>
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2008 10:40:06 +1000
Does anyone have experience of the feeding habits of Nankeen Night-Herons?

I volunteer at a wetlands sanctuary in south-east Queensland and am trying to 
identify the creature which is leaving crab remains on a crab hide.   The crab 
hide is a timber structure built on the side of a salt-water creek off the 
river and is roughly 800 mm above the mud.   The remains are from the Scarlet 
Three-spined Mangrove Crab (Neosarmatium trispinosum) and are grouped on one 
corner.   There were originally just a few nippers, then more, and as time goes 
on, more and more nippers, legs, carapaces, etc.   Always the one species of 
crab, although it is not the most numerous in the area, it is probably the 
biggest-bodied crab.

My first thoughts were a mammal - water rat, melomys, bush or ship's rat, etc. 
- but they don't fit.   White Ibis feed and regurgitate in the area, but this 
is very different.

Do Nankeen Night-herons move from where they catch prey to a feeding platform?  
Do they eat crabs whole or pull them apart to eat?

I have seen a night-heron in the area quite some time ago, but not recently.   
Would appreciate any knowledgable comments.

Robyn Howard

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