Black-crowned Night Heron


The Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax ) is short and stocky in comparison to its longer-limbed relatives. It tends to roost in colonies with other herons, egrets, and ibises in marshes and trees by day, then flies off to feed and forage at dusk. A large colony nests at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in San Pasqual, California along with other herons.

The Black-crowned Night Heron is common all year round in the San Diego area, and spends most of its time along the coast and at lakes and marshes inland. It is an opportunist when it comes to eating as its diet includes both freshwater and saltwater marine animals including earthworms, insects, crayfish, mussels, fish, lizards, rodents, and even carrion and garbage.

To learn more about the Black-crowned Night Heron check out the San Diego County Bird Atlas from your local library or purchase it from the Museum store.

PHOTO CREDIT: "Mike" Michael L. Baird,