Herons, Ibises, Storks, New World Vultures, and Allies (Ciconiiformes) - RStade

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron – resting

Nyctanassa violacea

July – Texas

L=24” ...... WS=42” ....... WT=1.5 lb Order: Ciconiiformes (Herons, Ibises, Storks, New World Vultures, Allies) Family: Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, Bitterns)

This species most often inhabits forested wetlands, swamps, and bayous of the deep south where poor lighting seems to be the most reliable characteristic of its breeding sites. Because Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are dark bodied and nest under canopy in forested areas, aerial surveys are ineffective in determining population status and because colonies are small and scattered, ground surveys are economically unfeasible. Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are frequently not listed at all in results of broad surveys for wading birds. Numerous species of birds sun and adopt quite varied positions in doing so. There is little experimental data to establish the function of sunning but some suggested purposes include keeping the feathers supple through limited heating, harming or repositioning parasites, saving energy by taking up solar heat and simply doing it because it feels good. A number of large water birds stand for many minutes with their wings extended in a pose known as “spead-wing posture”. This type of sunning is most certainly done to help dry the feathers and to increase body heat.

Heron Yellowcrowned Night