Herons and Egrets

Black-crowned Night Heron

Nycticorax nycticorax

Black-crowned Night Herons are, as their name implies, primarily nocturnal. They feed at night and nap during the day. Black-crowned Night Herons are large grey birds with black backs, black patches on top of their heads, and dark colored beaks. Pale yellow legs, bright blood-red colored eyes, and the two long, thin white feathers that trail back from the tops of their heads make these birds unmistakable.

Black-Crowned Night Herons are found throughout most of the world, having one of the largest distribution areas of any heron or egret species. Usually found near bodies of water, Black-crowned Night Herons feed on fish, amphibians, crustaceans, small rodents, reptiles and the eggs or babies of other birds. Their long legs and long toes are well suited for hunting along muddy banks or in shallow waters. Though their necks look short and compact, they are actually very long, carefully tucked back and conceled by lots of feathers. While hunting, they quickly strike out and grab their food with their long beak.

If you have found an injured heron or egret, call a wildlife rehabilitator before trying to pick up the bird. If you cannot get in touch with a rehabilitator and the bird is in immediate danger, make sure to approach the bird only after equiping yourself with eye protectors and sturdy clothing with long sleeves and long pants.