Bird Profile: Black-crowned Night-Heron

Herons are elegant birds, wading through water with their long legs, waiting to plunge their beaks into the water to spear their next meal, be it a frog a mouse or a small fish. Yesterday, I visited Frank Lake, near High River, south of Calgary. While I was there, I saw several Black-crowned Night-Herons; a mostly nocturnal heron with relatively large eyes. The Black-crowned Night-Heron is a small, stocky bird with a greenish black crown and long, thin, white head plumes. A colonial species, the Night-Heron can be found roosting in trees near its hunting grounds during the daylight hours.

 This immature Night-Heron has yet to grow the fancier plumage of the adult.

Unfortunately, we did not find a colony of roosting birds; we did however, find two birds together in the same small pond. What struck me the most was the herons’ bright red eyes. They certainly looked like they would be able to see in the dark!!!

An adult Black-crowned Night-Heron in search of lunch.

That beak and those claws are pretty intimidating; especially if you are on this guy’s menu!

Posted by Matthew Sim