Yellow-crowned Night Heron


The Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) is the rarest heron to migrate north to San Diego County from Mexico. It ranges from the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve to San Diego Bay and La Jolla Shores.

Since 2006, one or two pairs have nested annually in pine trees at the Imperial Beach Sports Park adjacent to the Tijuana River Estuary. The species has also nested at Sea World and North Island Naval Air Station on Coronado.

Standing quietly on its long yellow legs, a Yellow-crowned Night Heron may forage by day or night searching for small crustaceans like fiddler crabs and crayfish. The species prefers shallow coastal marshes and wetlands and tends to nest near or over water.

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

PHOTO CREDIT: Keenan Adams, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service