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Black-crowned Night Heron

Fact File

Continent: North and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe
Habitat: Wetlands
Weight and Length: 0.8kg, 0.65m

Diet: Carnivore
Incubation: 25 days
Number of Young: 4

Conservation Status: LC


  • Are nocturnal, which is quite unusual.
  • Prefer to ambush their prey at the edge of water.
  • Will perch in trees during day time.
  • Their young will regurgitate when threatened.

Black-crowned Night Heron

Nycticorax nycticorax

Animals —  Aves (birds) — Pelecaniformes (pelican relatives) — Ardeidae (herons)

Black-crowned Night Herons are a wide ranging species of heron. They are medium sized herons with a black patch on top of their heads that gives them their names. They have off-white to grey bodies with dark blue-ish grey wings, red eyes and a few long white plumes at the back of the neck.

They are named “night herons” because of their preference to hunt at dusk and night time. They nest in groups, sometimes with other species, and are thought to mate monogamously, which means they have one mate for life.

They are classified as “least concern”. They have a large range and a large population, though some populations may be decreasing. They suffered from the use of pesticide DDT and from persecution near fish farms. Habitat destruction could quickly become a concern.

Habitat: Large wetlands from swamps to rivers and lakes.

Vital Statistics:
–Average weight: 0.8kg
–Average length: 0.65m

Life Expectancy:
In the wild up to: 20 years
In captivity up to: 20 years

Diet: They are carnivores and so eat meat. They mostly eat fish, but they will also eat other items like insects and leeches.

Distribution: Wide ranging from the Americas, Europe, Japan, Africa, and India.

How we are Protecting Wild Animals
Throughout most of tropical America large macaws have suffered major population declines as a result of habitat loss and poaching for the pet trade.

The Tambopata Macaw Project is a long term research project, which studies the behaviour, ecology and diet of wild parrots and macaws. The research includes monitoring of home range and habitat use, using GPS surveillance technology, and the study of breeding behaviour through the use of specially designed bird nest boxes with the inclusion of remote cameras.

The project also works to protect the forest – in particular the bird’s nesting and feeding sites. This is largely done by promoting ecotourism in the area – this boosts funds and awareness for the local wildlife as well as providing higher security from illegal logging and poaching.

The information our scientists have uncovered so far has been invaluable to the care and protection of these threatened species, both in this area and across the globe.

Safari Zoo Animals Protected by This Project

Other Wild Animals Protected by This Project