Yellow crowned Night Heron
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – ENCHANTED FOREST PARK, FL
This photograph is of a Yellow crowned Night Heron captured with a Nikon D90 camera body attached to a Tamron 28-300mm zoom lens. This Yellow crowned Night Heron photograph was taken at Enchanted Forest Park, located off of NE135th Street in North Miami, Florida. The Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea, formerly placed in the genus Nycticorax), also called the American Night Heron or squawk, is a fairly small heron, similar in appearance to the Black-crowned Night Heron. It is found throughout a large part of the Americas, especially (but not exclusively) in warmer coastal regions.
Yellow-crowned Night-Herons (Nyctanassa violacea) live in or near wetlands—on the coast along islands, mangroves, and barrier beaches; farther inland in wooded swamps, forested uplands, and lakes and rivers, sometimes near residential areas. They usually nest in small colonies, sometimes with other wadiing birds, and forage along tidal marshes, in tide pools and the shores of water bodies where crustaceans are abundant.
The great majority of the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron’s diet consists of crustaceans. They eat many kinds of crabs, including blue, ghost, and fiddler crabs, as well as crayfish. Other prey include insects, fish, snails, earthworms, marine worms, and leeches. Occasionally they’ve been found eating lizards, snakes, young birds, mice, and small rabbits.
Foraging birds stand still or slowly stalk crabs and other prey along shorelines, marshes, and fields. Once in striking range they lunge at their prey and seize it in their bill. They swallow small prey whole, but often shake apart, crush, or spear larger prey. They forage on their own, typically keeping other individuals at a distance of 15 feet or more. Courting Yellow-crowned Night-Herons make display flights around their colonies, sometimes with the neck conspicuously extended. Courting pairs make a neck-stretching display, slowly raising and then quickly pushing the head back between its shoulders, while fanning the long shoulder plumes. Males do this first and females sometimes follow.