Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax



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Photos from this Account

Adult (American)

Stocky and compact heron. Often tucks neck into its body creating a hunchbacked look. Adults have a black cap and back that contrasts with its whitish to pale gray belly and gray wings.


Thick-necked heron with a thick bill. Juveniles are brown and streaky overall. Note pale yellowish bill.

Immature (American)

Immature birds have a mix of juvenile and adult plumage. This individual has faint streaking on the chest, a dark gray cap, and a nearly complete dark gray back.

Adult (American)

Flies with its neck tucked in with only part of its feet trailing behind. In flight, note pale underparts.

Adult (Dusky)

Residents in southern South America are darker brown overall with a gray cap.

Adult (American)

Long white plumes the extend from the back of the head on breeding birds.


Juveniles are brown overall with heavy blurry streaking on their neck and white spotting on their wings.

Adult (Dusky)

Often stands motionless while watching for prey. Individuals in southern South America are darker below with a paler gray cap.


Found in wetland habitats including estuaries, marshes, streams, lakes, and reservoirs.

Recommended Citation

Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: