The Black-crowned Night Heron is a stocky, thick-billed, short-legged heron (24 in.), usually seen hunched and inactive. These herons’ eyes are red with legs that are yellowish or greenish. Adults have black caps in contrast with pale gray or whitish underparts. Breeding birds have two white plumes connected at the crown. The immature night heron is brown streaked and spotted with buff and has a white bill. The voice is a flat “quark” or loud “WOK” that is heard mostly at dusk.
The Black-crowned Night Heron is more commonly located near fresh water. It feeds in wet habitats, primarily by standing upright or crouching over a fishing hole, waiting for prey to pass. Although fish is its primary food, these birds also stalk prey by walking slowly and catching snakes, mice, crayfish, crabs and nesting terns. It feeds mainly at dusk.
The male gathers the nest material; the female puts the nest together. The pair incubates 3-4 pale green eggs for 21-26 days. Both parents feed the young by regurgitation. The young are able to fly at 6 weeks.