The Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), also known as the Black-crowned Night Heron is a bird found throughout a large part of the world.
Nycticorax derives from the Greek for “night raven” and refers to the largely nocturnal feeding habits of this group of birds, and the croaking crow-like call
It has black crown, nape and back, glossed with a metallic green colour. The crest has a few long white narrow feathers. The forehead, cheeks and lower plumage is white, the rest of the body is an ashy grey in colour.
The bill is black with yellowish colour at the base. The eye is reddish. In the breeding-season the bill is more black and the legs and feet are pale reddish-horny.
Juveniles are very different in appearance and can be easily spotted and distinguished in a nest. “Young birds have the head blackish, with shaft-streaks of rufous ; the upper parts brown, streaked with rufous, the streaks broadening to white patches on the wing-coverts ; primaries and secondaries rather more ashy with white spots on the tips ; lower parts white or buffy-white, broadly streaked with dark brown.”
It is a nocturnal bird, feeding by night and early mornings and is very shy and secretive. The birds spend their day in a colony among foliage and trees, sleeping and brooding awaiting dusk.
The food of this bird is varied and consists of small fish, amphibia, crustacea, and
The bird breeds mostly in july and august but can start as early as April in some parts. The nest is made of sticks, unlined, and placed in a tree. A few nests are solitary, but usually the birds build in colonies, and generally these colonies are in association with those of other species of Herons and Egrets. They lay 4-5 eggs.