Yellow-crowned Night Heron
|Yellow-crowned Night Heron|
|Yellow-crowned night heron at a pond in Tarpon Springs, FL.|
The Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea, formerly placed in the genus Nycticorax), also called the American Night Heron or squawk, is a fairly small heron, similar in appearance to the Black-crowned Night Heron. It is found throughout a large part of the Americas, especially (but not exclusively) in warmer coastal regions; an example occurrence is the Petenes mangroves of the Yucatan.
Adults are about 61 cm long and weigh 625 g. They have a white crown and back with the remainder of the body grayish, red eyes and short yellow legs. They have a white stripe below the eye. Juveniles resemble young Black-crowned Night-Herons, being mainly brown flecked with white or gray.
In warmer locations, some are permanent residents; others migrate to Central America and the West Indies. They may occasionally wander north to the lower Great Lakes or Ontario after the breeding season.
Their breeding habitat is swamps and marshes from the eastern United States to north-eastern South America. They often nest in colonies, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. They lay 3–5 pale blue-green eggs.
Culinary use 
Referred to as Gros bec (from the French meaning thick-billed), or commonly referred to as Night Heron, the birds were eaten as a form of game in Cajun cuisine. Poachers sometimes raided nests for the breast meat of young birds, a practice that could destroy an entire rookery. Ibis (bec croche) was also eaten. Killing these wild birds is now illegal.
- BirdLife International (2008). Nyctanassa violacea. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 4 February 2009. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern.
- World Wildlife Fund. 2010. Petenes mangroves. eds. Mark McGinley, C.Michael Hogan & C. Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC
- Stiles and Skutch. A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
Yellow-crowned Night Heron chick in Texas
Immature in the Galápagos Islands
Juvenile, Galápagos Islands
- bec meat was a delicacy Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser
- Bermuda Audubon Society.
- Bermuda Online: Bermudian Fauna.
- Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo Biodiversity Project.
- Field Guide Page on Flickr
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