By Kristiana Hall

This bird appears to be a UFO space ship as it cocoons itself with his wings.

Elmarie Hirschhorn, 52, took the image at Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary in Pretoria, South Africa.

The images show the bird using its wings to cocoon itself – something that gives the illusion the animal is hovering above the water’s surface.

PIC FROM Elmarie Hirschhorn/Caters News

IT worker Elmarie, 52, said: “The UFO shot of the bird is special, I was positioned my camera just right and the light was perfect – hence the wonderful reflection.

“I have many lovely shots of the bird.”

The black heron – who has been named Stompie by the staff at the sanctuary – is often captured by budding wildlife photographers who visit.

In 2018, Stompie disappeared for months with no sign of returning, until a few weeks ago when he returned to his usual sitting post like he had never left – much to the joy of revisiting guests.

PIC FROM Elmarie Hirschhorn/Caters News

Elmarie said: “He is quite an attraction at the sanctuary, he just loves posing for the many photographers who visit the sanctuary daily.

“I have always appreciated good wildlife photos and started thinking about photography as a hobby years ago.

“My day job is challenging and stressful, so it is important to try and balance my life and to reduce stress.

“Photography helps me do that. Stompie is my favourite bird.”