Nature Journal
with Photos

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Sexes similar
- Fairly small, long-legged, short-necked heron
- Tucks neck in close to body in flight and often at
   rest, rarely extending it
- Black bill
- Leg color varies with age, as with Black Crowns
- Long legs, with feet and part of legs extending
   beyond tail in flight

- Red eyes
- Blue-gray neck, chest, back and belly
- Dark centers to back feathers
- Pale yellowish forehead and buffy-white crown
- Black face and chin with broad white auricular stripe

- Eyes yellowish to amber
- Head, neck, chest and belly dark gray-brown streaked
   finely with buff and white
- Darker cap
- Wings and back darker brown with small white spots
   at the tips of the feathers
- Greater secondary coverts with crisp white edgings
   and small spots at tips

- Gradually acquires adult plumage over 2 years, losing
   spotting and streaking and gradually acquiring face
   and body plumage of adult

Similar species
Adult unmistakable. Immatures separated from American Bittern by pale spotting on the upperwing, reddish eye, lack of black neck spot, different shape, stouter bills and more even upperwing coloration in flight. Juvenile separated from juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron by pale edgings on greater secondary coverts, smaller spots about head and neck, larger bill and longer legs.

Immatures can show a variety of plumage characters so are best separated from immature Black-crowns by their larger, thicker bill and longer legs, although if remnants of juvenile plumage or the first hints of adult plumage can be seen, the identification should be simplified.
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