Common name: Black-Crowned Night-heron

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, red eyes, 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                       roads.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Ciconiiformes
Family: Ardeidae
Genus: Nycticorax
Species: N. nycticorax

Binomial Name: Nycticorax nycticorax

Created by:  Joe Coiro 6.12.08

Web links:  http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/Infocenter/i2020id.html

References: Peterson, Roger Torey. Birds of Eastern and Central North America Fifth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York. 2002.
                     http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/Infocenter/i2020id.html