Garca-noturna © Diogo Oliveira

Black-crowned Night Heron

Nycticorax Goraznycticorax

The Black-crowned Night Heron, a medium-sized bird which has a localized distribution with some population fluctuations, in addition to the conservation status of “Vulnerable”. It is a colonial species and essentially migratory nesting, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa, although some individuals remain in the country during the winter. It occurs mainly in flooded areas with dense vegetation, in bogs, ponds and riparian areas, feeding on fish, amphibians and invertebrates.

The scientific name of the Black-crowned Night Heron alludes to the nocturnal habits of the species and to the hoarse vocalization it emits: the term derives from the Greek nuktikorax nuktikoraxnuktos means night, korax means crow, that I, “raven of the night.”

The night heron is a visually appealing bird. Adults exhibit a plumage with shades of white, gray, dark blue and red iris whereas in juveniles the plumage is brownish and the iris yellow. Despite being a very discreet and usually elusive bird, animals that occur in urban areas are less suspicious.

Text: João E. Rabaça