Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Nyctanassa violacea

CLASS: Aves
ORDER: Ciconiiformes
FAMILY: Ardeidae

SIZE:
22 - 28 inches in length

RANGE:
Southern U.S., Central, and part of South America along coasts

HABITAT:
Coastal areas and islands; in Louisiana, in cypress

DIET:
Wild - Mainly land crabs which it catches, kills, and breaks into pieces to eat
Zoo - Soft billed diet and fish

DESCRIPTION:

  • Chunky grayish bird with black head, white cheek patches, whitish yellow crown
  • More speckled than Black-crowned Heron with a shorter bill and longer, more yellowish legs

FACTS:

  • Can skillfully kill all species of crabs with the exception of the large white crab and hermit crab
  • The large white crab, at 14 inches and 1 lb., is too large and strong
  • The hermit crab retreats into a shell and is safe from the bird

STATUS:
Not threatened; reintroduced into areas where it is exterminated; range expanding

REFERENCES:

  • "Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia," Vol. 7 Birds 1, Dr. Bernhard Grzimek
  • "Common Birds of Louisiana," Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission