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Yellow-crowned night heron

Nyctanassa violacea


This beautiful bird normally forages at night, but this one was still meandering about in the early morning hours after dawn. The yellow-crowned night heron has a distinguishing tassel of several inches in length that stems from the back of its head and droops above its neck. It may also have a couple shorter such tassels. White markings on its forehead and just below and behind its eyes also differentiate it from its cousins. It is also called an American night heron and "squawk."


The yellow-crowned night heron is found throughout much of the Americas: eastern U. S. south of New York down through the southeast; in the Caribbean; on both coasts of Mexico and Central American countries; and along coastal areas of South America - as far south as Ecuador on the west coast, and as far south as the southern coast of Brazil, just north of Uruguay, on the east coast.


This morning, as I headed to our sunroom with my first cup of coffee, I was treated to the sight of a yellow-crowned night heron, which was walking along our bank that leads down to the lake. I grabbed my Nikon D7100 with a 70-300mm lens and took a nice walk with the bird for about 15 minutes. It would walk slowly first in one direction and then the other. I would take a couple slow steps, stop, take a few shots, remain still, and then take a couple more steps, all the while closing the distance between us. I ended getting to within a surprising eight feet; and, then, after seeing just how many images I had taken, I decided to leave the heron in peace and return to my coffee. This was the first one I have seen this season, along with my first butterfly sighting yesterday! Spring just has to be close!

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1 Comment

Desmond.E.S.O 4 years ago

Great shots!

Carol Snow Milne
Carol Snow Milne 5 years ago

WOW! Great information. So glad you put this series at PN.

Rustic 41
Spotted by
Rustic 41

Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

Lat: 36.87, Long: -76.05

Spotted on Mar 14, 2014
Submitted on Mar 14, 2014

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