Creature Feature: Black-crowned Night Heron

Today’s creature is the Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)! What do you guys think…coolest scientific name ever? These compact little herons are easy to spot around the Arcata Marsh during the day.

I once saw over 20 roosting around a pond there! While the herons themselves are easy to spot, you might have more difficulty locating their neck. Most of the time, they hunch their shoulders. But when they reach out for a worm or fish, you can see that their neck is actually quite long!

This species is easily recognized by their black cap and back, red eyes, and yellow legs. They also have a few distinctive white plumes extending from the back of their head, which are used for courtship rituals.

PC: Giorgio Quattrone on Flickr
Sources: allaboutbirds.com
wikipedia – Black-crowned Night Heron