Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow crowned night heron

Adult Yellow-crowned Night Herons have yellow crowns with 2 plumes extending from their heads. Their large bills are black. The rest of their heads are black, with a small white patch on the sides below their eyes.

They have red eyes that change from yellow to orange to red as they grew up.

Their bodies are gray-blue with a scaled pattern on their wings. Their legs are long and yellow and turn coral, pink, or red during the breeding season. 

Juveniles start grayish-brown all over with some white streaks and spots. They take three years to resemble adults.

  • Nyctanassa violacea
  • Length: 22 – 28 in (56 – 71 cm)
  • Weight: 25.6 oz ( 726 g)
  • Wingspan: 42 0 44 in (107 – 112 cm)


Yellow-crowned Night-herons breed mainly in southeastern US states before migrating south. They remain all year in Mexico, the Caribbean, and northern South America.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Yellow-crowned Night-herons at dawn and dusk in coastal areas with a lot of crustaceans, shallow waters, and significant edges on which to feed.

The diet of Yellow-crowned Night-herons is mostly crustaceans like crabs and crayfish. They also eat fish, insects, worms, mollusks, lizards, snakes, rodents, and birds. They can swallow small prey instantly.

Crabs are often dismembered or stabbed through their bodies. 

Yellow-crowned Night Heron Call:


Nests of Yellow-crowned Night-herons are often found in small, loose colonies, but they always build nests near water. The nests are made by both parents from sticks and twigs made soft with grass, leaves, or moss.

She then lays up to eight eggs which they incubate together for about three weeks. When they hatch, the chicks are fed by regurgitation. They fledge in about a month and, at fifty days, can fly on their own.

Fun Fact:

Yellow-crowned Night-heron can carry a deadly mosquito-borne virus (eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE) virus) that can kill horses and humans.