Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bird a Day: Black-crowned Night Heron

The most geographically widespread heron, appearing on all continents except Australia and Antarctica, is the Black-crowned Night Heron.  They have a tongue twister of a scientific name Nycticorax nycticorax, meaning night raven.  They are most often seen along the banks of rivers and streams sitting motionless, waiting for a fish to swim by.  Unlike the Great Blue Heron they don't use their bill to stab prey, instead they grasp it.  They eat fish but also a variety of other foods like frogs, snakes, rodents, invertebrates, and eggs.  In Kentucky they are migrants, showing up in spring and leaving in the fall.  

Bleck-crowned Night Heron

A simple heron to identify, the Black-crowned Night Heron can only be confused with the similar Yellow-crowned Night Heron.  Both birds are roughly the same size and both have red eyes, but the Black-crowned has a black cap and back.  The wings are gray and underparts are white.  Sexes are the same but the immature is a mottled brown with much streaking on the breast and belly and a yellow eye instead of red.


Fotokarusellen said...

Once again. A very beautiful image.
This is really a great blog with interesting post and beautiful images.

Like it a lot. Well done!

Ryan Ankeny said...

Thanks so much!

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