Scientific name Nycticorax
Higher classification Heron
|Lower classifications Black‑crowned night heron, Nankeen night heron|
Black crowned night heron bird nycticorax nycticorax
Nycticorax is a genus of night herons. The name Nycticorax means "night raven" and derives from the Ancient Greek nuktos "night" and korax, "raven". It refers to the largely nocturnal feeding habits of this group of birds, and the croaking crow-like call of the best known species, the black-crowned night heron.
- Black crowned night heron bird nycticorax nycticorax
- Black crowned night heron wild birds nycticorax nycticorax birds of flooded areas
These are medium-sized herons which often are migratory in the colder parts of their ranges.
Adults are short-necked, relatively short-legged and stout herons; the two extant species both have a black crown and a whitish belly, while the wings, chest, neck and auriculars are grey or rufous depending on the species. Young birds are brown, flecked with white and grey, and are quite similar to each other in the extant species. At least some of the extinct Mascarenes taxa appear to have retained this juvenile plumage in adult birds.
Night herons nest in colonies on platforms of sticks in a group of trees, or on the ground in protected locations such as islands or reed beds. Three to eight eggs are laid.
They stand at the water's edge, and wait to ambush prey, mainly at night. They primarily eat small fish, crustaceans, frogs, aquatic insects, and small mammals. During the day they rest in trees or bushes.
Black crowned night heron wild birds nycticorax nycticorax birds of flooded areas
In addition to the species listed below, the night herons of the genera Nyctanassa and Gorsachius were formerly placed in Nycticorax, but today all major authorities consider them separate.
In addition, the following taxa are known from fossil bones: