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Black-Crowned Night Heron

Scientific Name:

Nycticorax nycticorax




Wetlands and other bodies of waters


North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


Black-crowned night herons are small, stocky herons. Adults have dark gray backs and white undersides, as well as characteristic white plumes of feathers on the backs of their heads. Juvenile black-crowned night herons have brown feathers with white spots on their bodies. Black-crowned night herons are best seen around dusk as they are mainly active in the evening and at night. These birds have a very recognizable "wok wok wok" call.

Fast Facts:

  • Black-crowned night herons don't seem to be able recognize their own young. Parents will brood any chick that finds its way into their nest.

  • Adult black-crowned night heron legs turn from yellow to pink during breeding season.

  • The diet of young black-crowned night herons is easy for scientists to study, as the birds will regurgitate their food when approached.



Haley McGuire (research & content)

Jessica Andreone (photo)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

March 27, 2024 at 1:48:22 AM

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