These three new 110 XPF stamp issues pay tribute New Caledonia's herons and show the rufous night heron, the white-faced heron and the Pacific reef egret, all illustrations drawn by Jean-Jacques Mahuteau.
The rufous night heron (Nycticorax caledonicus caledonicus) is a stocky, medium-sized heron with reddish-brown upper parts, pale buff under parts, a black cap and beak, yellow legs and feet and a patch of greenish skin between the beak and the eye, which is yellow. An opportunistic feeder with a varied diet including fish, frogs, insects and crustaceans, the rufous night heron favours wetland habitats with dense vegetation, mangroves and wet meadows. It nests in large colonies, often with other birds such as cormorants and egrets, building loose platforms of sticks in tall trees, usually standing in or overhanging water. Females lay 2 to 5 pale green eggs.
The white-faced heron (Egretta novaehollandiae nana) grows to a length of about 60 centimetres and has a blue-grey body, a distinctive white face and throat and a black beak. This species is highly flexible in its habitat requirements: swamps, mangroves, lakes and ponds, river banks, coastal habitats and grassland. It feeds on insects, lizards and a range of aquatic species. These herons nest in solitary couples or small colonies. Females lay 2 to 3 pale blue eggs.
The Pacific reef egret (Egretta sacra albolineata) occurs in two main colour morphs, depending on its range: plumage is generally dark blue-grey but some all-white individuals may occur. Favouring rocky coasts and nearby shallow reefs, the Pacific reef egret feeds on small fish and crabs but may also eat insects and mollusks. The species nests in solitary pairs in sites near the sea. Females lay 2 to 3 pale blue eggs.