Image for Running the gauntlet

Running the gauntlet

Duration: 03:32

Rufous night herons are not reliant on a fish glut in the way that other birds are when timing their breeding. They can afford to nest late into the bird breeding season as their food is right under their feet: green sea turtle hatchlings. Green sea turtles time their egg laying so that most eggs hatch on exactly the same day. As the tiny hatchlings attempt to reach the sea from their sandy underground nest, they must run the gauntlet of an army of hungry herons. By swamping their predators in this way, it ensures that at least some of the young make it out to sea.

Available since: Fri 13 Jan 2012


Series Producer
James Brickell
Monty Halls
Executive Producer
Neil Nightingale

This clip is from

Great Barrier Reef Reef and Beyond

3/3 A look at the creatures who travel for thousands of miles to visit the reef's warm waters.

First broadcast: 15 Jan 2012

Image for Reef and Beyond Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

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