Black-crowned Night Heron
|Geographical Range||Southeast Asia, Eurasia, Africa, Hawaiian Islands, North America, Caribbean Islands, South America|
|Habitat||Marshes, swamps, ponds, lakes, lagoons, mangroves|
|Scientific Name||Nycticorax nycticorax|
This short-legged, stocky bird is not as elongated as are many other heron species. In fact, it usually looks as if its head is hunched down into its shoulders. The heron has a pale grey body, a black back, and a crown of black feathers on its head. Its short, thick bill is black and its eyes are red.
Like its name suggests, the black-crowned night heron is active at night, possibly to avoid competition with other heron species. It is not a picky eater. Though it primarily preys on fish, it eats almost any aquatic animal it can find, as well as rodents, snakes, birds, eggs, plant material, even garbage!
This heron uses a variety of clever techniques to attract prey. One of them is a behavior called "bill vibrating" in which it rapidly opens and closes its bill in the water, which lures fish by mimicking an insect.