Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Tossing Crayfish

June 21, 2017  •  3 Comments

I was able to photograph this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron a couple of days ago while at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I was watching a couple of these birds that were too far away to photograph when this one flew close to me. It began catching Crayfish and preparing them to swallow. This Yellow-crowned Night-Heron would toss the Crayfish, so that it could get it in a position to smash the body. Smashing the body of the Crayfish with its beak would get rid of the legs and pincers. This Yellow-crowned Night-Heron tossed this Crayfish several times before it got it just right for swallowing.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Eating CrayfishYellow-crowned Night-Heron Eating CrayfishYellow-crowned Night-Heron at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Facts

It takes about three years for yellow-crowned night herons to acquire the full physical appearance of adults. Before that, the young birds show signs of immaturity such as a brownish body, an overall greyish head, drab colors and spots and streaks on their plumage.

Although the adults are easy to tell apart, juvenile yellow-crowned night heron can look very similar to juvenile black-crowned night heron. Yellow-crowned juveniles tend to stand straighter and have heavier bills and longer legs, and their spots and streaks are finer than those of the black-crowned.

The yellow-crowned night heron looks for shallow water to live in: marshes, wooded swamps, and lake-shores for inland populations, and thickets, mangroves and cliff-bound coasts for coastal populations. It can also be found in areas that don’t always have enough water, but that get flooded on a regular basis. Its habitat is closely linked to that of the crustaceans that make for most of its diet, and it tolerates fresh water, brackish water and saltwater.


Comments

3.Aaron Campbell(non-registered)
Sweet catch (both of you)!
2.Steve Creek Wildlife Photography
Thank you Bonnie!
1.Bonnie J Bishop(non-registered)
Amazing capture! Congratulations!!
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