Therefore, their population size is probably larger by at least one order of magnitude than given by estimates (Watts 1995). Kushlan, J. Feeds nocturnally, specializing on crabs. A. Hancock. Yellow-crowned Night-Herons have a black head and face with a distinct thick white cheek stripe, whereas Black-crowned Night-Herons have a black head with gray on their face that extends down the whole front of the body. Often inconspicuous heron, roosts in trees by day. Texas A&M University Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are fairly small herons with stocky bodies and short, thick necks, and short legs. These herons are a little unusual in the Austin area and they migrate to Mexico and Central America when they want warmer weather. They are locally common winter residents along the coast, primarily from Matagorda Bay southward, but rare to casual elsewhere, including the Panhandle (Lockwood and Freeman 2004).BREEDING HABITAT: The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron occasionally nests in low shrubs on coastal barrier and dredge-material (spoil) islands, but, its usual breeding habitat includes forested wetlands along rivers and creeks, swamps, bayous, and urban wooded areas in deeply shaded areas. The southeastern United States provides many suitable habitats for this species, although they can also be found as far north as Ontario. Between the early 1960s and late 1980s, there was a significant upward trend in the cycle; since then the trend has begun to decrease (Tom Spencer, Texas Forest Service, pers. Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, and J. Fallon. texasbirdimages. The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is a crustacean-feeding specialist whose diet consists mostly of crabs in coastal areas and crayfish in inland areas. University Press, College Station. 2005. The species nested in the South Plains (Midland County) in 1969 (Oberholser 1974). comm.). Yellow-crowned Night Herons also have a gray front and neck, but it contrasts greatly with their facial pattern. Yellow-Crowned Night Heron hunting in a creek in Austin, Texas on May 4, 2019. STATUS: Like the bitterns and Green Heron (Butorides virescens), its cryptic coloration, secretiveness, and scattered small colonies, the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is so difficult to census that no reliable nesting census data are available. Yellow-crowned has longer legs and neck; thicker bill. Their diet leans heavily on crabs and crayfish, which they catch with a lunge and shake apart, or swallow whole. College Station TX 77843-2258 Inland wetland habitats are particularly subject to the effects of these trends. Home. Particularly in coastal regions, often feeds by day as well as by night. This form needs Javascript to display, which your browser doesn't support. The TOS handbook of Texas birds. Yellow-crowned Night Herons also have a gray front and neck, but it contrasts greatly with their facial pattern. Search this site. Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are cryptically- colored, secretive, and nest in small scattered colonies underneath the canopy of wooded and forested areas. Oxford University Press Inc., New York. AgriLife Extension's online Bookstore offers educational information and resources related to our many areas of expertise and programming; from agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources to nutrition, wellness for families and youth, and much more. A unique education agency, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service teaches Texans wherever they live, extending research-based knowledge to benefit their families and communities. Special Documentation. Most nesting occurs coastally with scattered locations inland east of the 100th meridian with most sites in forested regions (TBBA). The Yellow Crested Night Heron grows to around 21 inches and has a wingspan of 44 inches. A handful of these birds can be seen around Claybottom Pond in High Island, so come check them out as we’re nearing prime breeding season in March when this was written. The yellow-crowned night heron is found exclusively in the Americas, and its distribution depends closely on food (mainly crustaceans) availability. Legs project beyond the tail in flight. Yellow Crowned Night Herons are water birds who have found a niche nesting in down town Houston. It often feeds during the day as well as at night. The bird life of Texas. Brown immatures similar to Black-crowned Night-Heron. Small colonies typically begin with a single pair and increase to several pairs over a 4-6 year period and colonies may persist for >20 years. The Yellow-crowned night heron is a gorgeous graceful bird. They stand immobile as statues for long stretches before taking slow, deliberate, almost theatrical steps, foraging for crabs and crawfish at the edge of ponds and streams. Therefore, wetland conditions are especially important, particularly inland. 2005) give annual trends of 10.4% (1966-1979), -6.1% (1980-2005), and -4.7% (1966-2005); thus indicating a declining trend but, this may reflect survey coverage rather than a decreasing number of birds. Res. Phone: (979) 845-5777 They’re out early in the morning sometimes but otherwise live up to the “night” in their name. Habitat selection is related to the availability of crustaceans, especially crabs in coastal areas and crayfish inland (Watts 1995, Kushlan and Hancock 2005). Breeds from Mississippi River Valley to Gulf … Both species of North American night-herons, yellow-crowned and black-crowned, forage mainly at night and spend most of the day hidden among branches near a body of water. Texas Pelagic Trips. Family:  (Ardeidae) Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns. Breeds from Mississippi River Valley to Gulf States and down to South America. Juvenile Yellow-crowned has smaller white spots on wing coverts than Black-crowned. However, North American Breeding Bird Survey data for Texas (Sauer et al. Therefore, wetland conditions are especially important, particularly inland. When I lived on the US East Coast, I used to see a lot of yellow-crowned night herons, along the coast of New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, and of course Florida too. The herons. Urban nesting colonies can be considered a nuisance by home owners and zoos. As long as they can find crustaceans like crabs and crawfish to eat, they’ll forage, sleep, and nest in that location. Its stout bill seems to be an adaptation for feeding on hard-shelled crustaceans -- it is called "crab-eater" in some locales. Nest height varies according to the available substrate (Watts 1995). While not as slender as a typical heron, the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron’s smooth purple-gray colors, sharp black-and-white face, and long yellow plumes lend it a touch of elegance. SEASONAL OCCURRENCE: These herons breed from early March to mid-July. More solitary and often more secretive than the Black-crowned Night-Heron, the Yellow-crowned is still quite common in parts of the southeast. DISTRIBUTION: Yellow-crowned Night- Herons are uncommon to locally common summer residents along the Coastal Prairies, throughout the eastern third of the state westward through the central Rolling Plains and eastern Edwards Plateau (Lockwood and Freeman 2004). The trend varies regionally and there are intermittent drought years and irregular intervals with pronounced wet/dry springs-summers such as those associated with El Niño/La Niña years and massive slow-moving atmospheric disturbances (Dr. Robert K. Peters, NWS Observer for Tyler, Texas, pers. Watts, B. D. 1995. They forage at all hours of the day and night, stalking crustaceans in shallow wetlands and wet fields. Also appearing are some frogs that came out after a big storm. 2005. Now I am back in California, I am out of their range, which is mainly the US east coast and south east, plus the Carribeans. In Texas, an important influence on waterbird populations is the 20-25 year precipitation cycle (Telfair 2002). The most obvious difference is stated in their names: Yellow-crowned Night-Herons have a yellow crown and Black-crowned Night-Herons have a black crown. The Yellow Crested Night Heron, is a smaller heron, similar in appearance to the Black-crowned Night Heron. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. Keith A. Arnold But that’s not the only difference! Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are casual visitors to the Panhandle and Trans-Pecos regions betweenlate April and early September. A. and J. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results/analysis 1966-2005. Other identifying features of a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron include a thick black bill, long and showy plume feathers that drape behind the head, and dingy yellow legs.


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