black crowned-night heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Nycticorax nycticorax

CLASS Aves | ORDER Ciconiiformes | FAMILY Ardeidae

RANGE Throughout the U.S. and all of South America, eastern Europe, Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia. Breeds on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.

HABITAT Various wetland habitats, including salt, brackish, and freshwater marshes, swamps, streams, lakes, and agricultural fields

DIET Aquatic invertebrates, fish, amphibians, lizards, snakes, rodents, and eggs

25.6 – 35.8 oz

22.8 – 26 in

45.3 – 46.5 in

24 to 26 days

3 - 5 eggs

IUCN Status
Least Concern
black-crowned night heron

The black-crowned night heron has a stocky, chunky body with short, strong legs and neck, and large red eyes. It is most active at dusk and at night, feeding in the same areas that other heron species frequent during the day.

Herons will sometimes rapidly open and close the beak in the water to create a disturbance that attracts their prey. Young black-crowned night herons often disgorge their stomach contents when disturbed.

black-crowned night heron

Most populations are stable. Because of its wide distribution and feeding habits, the black-crowned night heron is an excellent indicator of ecosystem health. These birds are sensitive to water-quality changes and wetlands destruction.