Common name: Black-Crowned
Scientific name: Nycticorax
nycticorax, The scientific name,
Nycticorax, means "night raven", and refers to this species' nocturnal
habits and harsh crow-like call.
Characteristics: Adults are 64
cm long and weigh 800 g. They have
a black crown and back with the remainder of the body white or grey,
and short yellow legs. Young birds are brown, flecked with white and
grey. These are short-necked and stout herons.
Red eyes, legs yellow, black bill, black crown and back, white face,
throat, foreneck, chest and belly, blue-gray wings, two
long, white, filamentous plumes
extending from back of head in alternate plumage
Habitat: The breeding habitat
is fresh and salt-water wetlands
throughout much of the world.
Range: The subspecies N. n.
hoactli breeds in North and South
America from Canada as far south as Patagonia, and the nominate race N.
n. nycticorax in Europe, Asia and Africa.
This heron is migratory outside the tropical parts of its extensive
range, where it is a permanent
resident. The North American population
winters in Mexico, the southern United States, Central America, and the
West Indies, and the
Old World birds
winter in tropical Africa and southern Asia.
Description: These birds stand
still at the water's edge and wait
to ambush prey, mainly at night. They primarily eat small fish,
crustaceans, frogs, aquatic insects, and small
mammals. During the day they rest in trees or bushes. The New World
race is more gregarious
outside the breeding season than the nominate
race.They are often found nesting or roosting within cities in avenue
trees on busy
Species: N. nycticorax
Binomial Name: Nycticorax nycticorax
Created by: Joe Coiro
References: Peterson, Roger
Torey. Birds of Eastern and
America Fifth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York. 2002.