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Marshbirds and Shorebirds of North Dakota

Black-crowned Night Heron


BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON Nycticorax nycticorax L25" (64cm)

As the name implies, this heron is most active at night but is occasionally observed during the day standing motionless in a marsh. Its chunky body, short thick neck, and black and white coloration makes this heron easy to identify. The black-crowned night heron is an expert at still fishing. It will stand motionless for long periods of time waiting for small fish, frogs, salamanders, or any prey that is abundant. Two types of nesting habitat are utilized in North Dakota by the black-crowned night heron. These include groves of small and medium-sized trees located near wetlands and large marshes dominated by bulrushes and cattails. The male gathers nest material such as twigs and branches which serve as the foundation and finer material such as moss that is woven into the bowl. The nest is constructed by the female and is located anywhere from ground level to 160 feet up in a tree. The female lays 3-5 pale blue-green eggs with both sexes sharing incubation duties which last 25 days.


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