Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Nyctanassa violacea




Bitterns, Herons and Egrets (Ardeidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale blue green

Number of Eggs:

2 - 8

Incubation Days:

21 - 25

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground., Sometimes in tree 30 - 40 ft. high.

Nest Material:

Made with sticks and lined with twigs or leaves.





Yellow-crowned Night-Heron: Medium-sized, stocky heron with gray body and brown-and-white mottled wings. Face is black and white; crown is pale yellow and sweeps back as a plume. Eyes are large and red. Bill is heavy and black. Sexes are similar. Juvenile has white-spotted brown upperparts and brown-streaked white underparts.

Range and Habitat

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron: Breeds from southern New England to Florida and west to Texas, mainly near coasts but in the interior north to Minnesota and along Mississippi River and its larger tributaries. Spends winters along the Gulf Coast and on Atlantic coast north to South Carolina. Preferred habitats include wooded swamps and coastal thickets.

Breeding and Nesting

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron: Two to eight pale blue green eggs are laid in a nest made of sticks built in a tree or occasionally on the ground; nests singly or in small colonies, sometimes with other heron species. Incubation ranges from 21 to 25 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron: Food consists primarily of crustaceans, but also eats small fish, reptiles, amphibians, eels, insects, and mollusks; forages in open water, mud flats, and in partially submerged vegetation.


Yellow-crowned Night-Heron: Usually silent, occasionally gives a loud "quawk."

Similar Species

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron: Adults are distinct; juvenile is distinguished from American Bittern by pale spotting on upperwing, red eye, lack of black neck spot, and stouter bill. Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron has larger spots, more slender, longer bill, and shorter legs.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X