Yellow Crowned Night Heron basking in beautiful dusk light
The yellow-crowned night heron is a large wading bird with a stocky build. Females are somewhat smaller than males. The wingspan of the yellow-crowned night heron ranges from 3 feet 4 inches to 3 feet 8 inches. The thin neck, when stretched, reveals its huge head, with a big and hefty bill, in comparison to its body. The body and back are a smooth grey-blue, with the wings having a black scaled pattern.
The head of the yellow-crowned night heron is the most distinguishing feature: black and glossy, with white cheeks and a faint yellow crown running from the bill, between the eyes, and to the rear of the head, which gives the bird its common name. For inland populations, the yellow-crowned night heron prefers marshes, forested swamps, and lakeshores, whereas coastal populations prefer thickets, mangroves, and cliff-bound beaches. It can also be found in locations that don't always have adequate water but are frequently inundated. Its habitat is closely linked to that of the crustaceans that make for most of its diet, and it tolerates freshwater, brackish water, and saltwater.
Photograph by Alex Bruce
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