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Black crowned night heron

Black crowned night heron
Photo Information
Copyright: Zeno Swijtink (Zeno) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 483 W: 0 N: 1345] (10867)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-07-28
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D80, Nikon 200-500 mm.
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-08-12 2:24
Viewed: 4775
Points: 14
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I think this is a young black crowned night heron, but I'm not completely sure. This bird visited the pond at our hotel in negril every day.

Black-crowned night-herons do not fit the typical body form of the heron family. They are relatively stocky and about 63 cm. tall with shorter bills, legs, and necks than their more familiar cousins the egrets and "day" herons. Their resting posture is normally somewhat hunched but when hunting they extend their necks and look more like other wading birds.

Adult black-crowned night-herons have black caps and backs, pale gray wings, white underparts, red eyes, and yellow legs. Two or three long white plumes, erected in greeting and courtship displays, extend from the back of the head. The sexes are similar in appearance although the males are slightly larger. Immature birds have dull gray-brown plumage on their heads, wings, and backs, with numerous pale spots. Their underparts are paler and streaked with brown. The young birds have orange eyes and duller yellowish-green legs. They are very noisy birds in their nesting colonies, with calls that are commonly transcribed as quok or woc, woc.

The black-crowned night-heron breeds on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. They are one of the most common herons in the northern United States, breeding everywhere except the southwest and Rocky Mountain states. They are found in many types of wetland habitats including riparian forests, wooded swamps, marshes, mangroves, and even occasionally grasslands or rice fields. Although the National Zoo does not include any black-crowned night-herons in its formal collection, every spring and summer hundreds of birds make their homes in the large trees surrounding the Bird House. Once the young birds have fledged they are a common sight throughout the Zoo.

Herons feed primarily on fish, but also take eggs and young of other birds, amphibians, small mammals, crabs, mollusks, and other invertebrates. They forage primarily at night or in the early morning by standing or wading slowly through shallow water. They spear their prey with a forceful thrust of the neck, grasp it in a serrated beak, flip the prey to orient it properly, then swallow it headfirst and whole. Occasionally, particularly large prey such as bullfrogs will choke an overly ambitious bird.

Black-crowned night-herons usually nest in colonies. The breeding colony of wild night herons at the National Zoo contains more than 200 pairs, with most of the birds arriving from their wintering grounds en masse around March 1. Courtship begins with the male birds bowing, stretching, rocking from foot to foot, hissing, and bill clapping as they display for the females.

Following the formation of the pair bond, the birds spend a good deal of time preening their mates, rubbing their bills over their heads, necks, and backs. They build their relatively flimsy nests of sticks, twigs, and reeds in shrubs or trees usually between five and ten meters off the ground. Nests tend to be below the tree canopy to provide some protection from the eyes of nest predators such as crows.

The female lays three to five pale blue eggs (53 x 37mm.) and both parents incubate for 24 to 26 days. The nearly-naked young are fed by regurgitation as the parents return to the nest after foraging. As they grow they will begin to receive whole prey from the parents. The noisy begging of the nestlings can create quite a din in some of the larger breeding colonies. At three weeks, they begin to climb about and around the nest. They fledge at six to seven weeks of age. They will not acquire full adult plumage until they are a year old and may not breed until their second or third year.

hansh, haraprasan, uleko has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • hansh Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 277 W: 1 N: 741] (2762)
  • [2010-08-12 2:25]

Hallo Zeno.

Mooie foto van deze reiger waarbij ik het oog vooral aan vind spreken.
Een prima compositie, leuk om naar te kijken.

Gr. Hans

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-08-12 3:09]

Hallo Zeno,
Ontzettend moeilijk te onderscheiden van het jong van de Geelkruinkwak. Deze laatste heeft een kortere iets dikkere snavel, langere poten en iets grijzer verenkleed met kleinere lichte vlekken op de rug. Ik neig dus ietsje meer naar de Geelkruinkwak. Je zou ze naast elkaar moeten zien.
Erg mooie foto, prachtig van kleur, fantastische diepte en scherpte. Ook de compositie is uitstekend. Vanuit een ideaal standpunt genomen. Super foto!

Hi Zeno,
A nice capture of this beautiful night heron. Very well composed shot with nice details. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-08-12 3:39]

Hello Zeno,
I agree with Peter: this is a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron that is gaining adult plumage. You can see the yellowish part on the top of the head and the legs are shorter than those of the black-crowned.
Nicely composed sharp capture with fine natural colours.
Thanks and best regards,

hallo Zeno
een super mooie opname met mooi licht en zeer mooie kleuren
leuke pose zo aan het water
great shot
groetjes lou

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-08-12 7:25]

Hello Zeno,
Another really great capture of a Heron, this time a beautiful juvenile Night Heron with great focus on the red eye! I like its pose and the neutral backgound. Great sharpness and lovely light and colours too!
TFS and cheers, Ulla

Hey Zeno,
Nice capture here. I love the color in his eye, and how he is poised on that rock. Nicely composed. Thanks for sharing.

This thumbnail caught my eye as it reminded me of a Basil Ede painting. I can see the feathers clearly in this fellow as well as the algae on the rocks below. Thank you.

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