The Black-crowned Night
Heron (in Europe, often just Night Heron), Nycticorax nycticorax,
is a medium-sized heron. Adults 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. Their breeding habitat is fresh
and salt-water wetlands throughout much of North America, Europe,
Asia and Africa. They nest in colonies, on platforms of sticks
in a group of trees, or on the ground in protected locations such
as islands or reedbeds. 3-8 eggs are laid. These
are migratory birds; the North American race N. n. hoactli winters
in Mexico, the southwestern United States, Central America, and
the West Indies, and the Old World nominate race N. n. nycticorax
winters in tropical Africa and southern Asia. In the Americas,
N. nycticorax can be found as far south as Patagonia.
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. The scientific name, nycticorax, means
"night raven", and refers to this species' nocturnal
habits and harsh crow-like call.
Above Images Are From The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service