New Orleans, LA
Captured at dusk in Houston, Texas is a Yellow-crowned Night Heron. This nocturnal heron of the southern swamps and coasts, can also be found breeding along wooded streams northward to Indiana and Illinois. I often see them along Buffalo Bayou as I am riding my bike early morning or early evening. This one was captured on my back fence as I watched from my deck, and seemingly had no fear as I approached with the camera. It almost posed giving me his "best side".
The Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea, formerly placed in the genus Nycticorax), also called the American Night Heron or squawk, is a fairly small heron, similar in appearance to the Black-crowned Night Heron. It is found throughout a large part of the Americas, especially (but not exclusively) in warmer coastal regions; an example occurrence is the Petenes mangroves of the Yucatan.
A related heron, the Bermuda Night Heron, was endemic to Bermuda, but became extinct following human colonization.
Adults are about 61 cm long and weigh 625 g. They have a white crown and back with the remainder of the body grayish, red eyes and short yellow legs. They have a white stripe below the eye. Juveniles resemble young Black-crowned Night-Herons, being mainly brown flecked with white or gray.
In warmer locations, some are permanent residents; others migrate to Central America and the West Indies. They may occasionally wander north to the lower Great Lakes or Ontario after the breeding season.
These birds stalk their prey or wait in ambush at the water's edge, mainly at night. They mainly eat crustaceans, mollusks, frogs, aquatic insects and small fish.
Their breeding habitat is swamps and marshes from the eastern United States to north-eastern South America. They often nest in colonies, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. They lay 3–5 pale blue-green eggs.
September 16th, 2012
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