Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are found on coastal areas and swamps that have woody areas where these birds perch. For those who do not live near these area these birds are worth the effort to travel to an area where they are found. Their range includes about a third of the lower 48 states including most of the East Coast, all of the Gulf Coast, then reaching north to Minnesota. They are found in residential areas in their range where suitable habitat and food is available so there are some lucky folks who can count them as ‘yard birds.’
I spotted this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron napping, ‘hidden’ in a open thicket. I really like their long yellow colored plumes that is clearly shown in the photo just above. Shown clearly in the other photos is a bit of feathers at the end of it’s bill, likely some that stuck after a grooming session.
Though their name ‘Night-Heron’ would imply that they are active primarily at night they forage both in the daytime as well as night. They stalk their prey both by standing perfectly still as well as by walking slowly. They specialize in crabs and crayfish but like other birds they will eat other items when they are available.
Fellow Birds and Blooms Magazine blogger Jill posted a great photo of a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron on it’s nest in her excellent article on this blog “Safely Observing Nesting Birds.” Yellow-crowned Night-Herons nest in trees with other birds of their species and similar species in what are called colonies. Disturbance of birds in these nesting colonies can impact a lot or even all of the nesting birds so please follow the advice in that article when observing nesting birds.