Yellow-crowned Night Heron

The Yellow-crowned Night Heron is one of two species of night herons found South Florida, the other one being the black-crowned night heron. The face appear striped in a horizontal black-white-black-white pattern. Long, thin, white feathers grow to the back of the crown during mating season. The bill, also black, is thick and deeply set under the eyes which are dark orange or red.

The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is a stocky wading bird, ranging from 1 ft 10–2 ft 4 inches and from 1.43–1.87 pounds, the females being a little smaller than the males. The neck, slim when extended, gives the bird a comically large head compared to its body, with a large and heavy bill.

The body and back are a smooth grey-blue, with a black scaled pattern on the wings. The long legs are yellow and turn coral, pink or red during courtship. The most characteristic part of the yellow-crowned night heron is the head: black and glossy, with white cheeks and a pale yellow crown going from the bill, between the eyes and to the back of the head, giving the bird its common name.

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