Black-crowned Night-Heron

Nycticorax nycticorax

Order

CICONIIFORMES

Family

Bitterns, Herons and Egrets (Ardeidae)

Code 4

BCNH

Code 6

NYCNYC

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Black-crowned Night-Heron is a medium-sized bird whose natural habitat may be in fresh or saltwater wetlands. They populate areas around the world, including the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. This species nests in colonies atop platforms of sticks in wooded areas, or on the ground on island locations. Those that live outside of the tropics migrate south in winter months. Black-crowned Night-Herons that live in North America typically fly to Mexico, the southern United States, Central America, and the West Indies in cold weather. They eat a diet of fish, crustaceans, frogs and small mammals, and their current conservation status is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Black-crowned Night-Heron: Medium-sized, stocky heron with short neck and legs, black upperparts, gray wings, and white to pale gray underparts. Stout black bill, red eyes, and yellow legs. Feeds on small invertebrates, crustaceans, vertebrates, mammals, eggs and young of other birds, and plants.


Range and Habitat

Black-crowned Night-Heron: Breeds in parts of southcentral Canada throughout the U.S. (except Rocky Mountain region) to southern South America. Spends winters in southern half of U.S. Preferred habitats include swamps, streams, rivers, marshes, mud flats, and the edges of lakes that have become overgrown with rushes and cattails.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"woe", "quock", "quaik"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The adults of this species do not distinguish between their chicks and the chicks of other nests. They will brood chicks which are not their own.
  • The Black-crowned Night-Heron is a patient hunter. It will often stand still and just wait for a frog or other small animals to pass by. They may also hunt by vibrating their bills in the water to lure prey into investigating the disturbance.
  • Young Black-crowned Night-Herons often disgorge their stomach contents when disturbed. This is convenient for ornithologists who want to study their diet.
  • A group of herons has many collective nouns, including a "battery", "hedge", "pose", "rookery", and "scattering" of herons."

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Black-crowned Night-Heron

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
PlumesX
Large, conspicuous, showy feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X