Nycticorax nycticorax - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Other English Common Names: black-crowned night-heron
Other Common Names: Garça-Dorminhoca
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Nycticorax nycticorax (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 174832)
French Common Names: bihoreau gris
Spanish Common Names: Pedrete Corona Negra, Garza Bruja
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104974
Element Code: ABNGA11010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Wading Birds
Image 21640

© Dennis Donohue

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Pelecaniformes Ardeidae Nycticorax
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Nycticorax nycticorax
Taxonomic Comments: Constitutes a superspecies with N. calendonicus (AOU 1998).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 09Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 20Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Very large range (southern Canada to southern South America; Old World); fairly common in many local areas.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4B,N1N,N4N5M (25Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S3B,S4N), Arizona (S3), Arkansas (S2B), California (S4), Colorado (S3B), Connecticut (S2B), Delaware (S1B), District of Columbia (S3B), Florida (S3), Georgia (S4), Hawaii (SU), Idaho (S2B,S2N), Illinois (S2), Indiana (S1B), Iowa (S3B,S3N), Kansas (S2B), Kentucky (S1S2B), Louisiana (S3N,S5B), Maine (S2B), Maryland (S3B,S2N), Massachusetts (S2B), Michigan (S3), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (S3B,S4N), Missouri (S3), Montana (S3B), Navajo Nation (S1S2), Nebraska (S3), Nevada (S5B), New Hampshire (SHB), New Jersey (S2B,S3N), New Mexico (S4B,S4N), New York (S3), North Carolina (S3B,S3N), North Dakota (SNRB), Ohio (S1), Oklahoma (S3B), Oregon (S4), Pennsylvania (S2S3B), Rhode Island (S2B), South Carolina (SNRB,SNRN), South Dakota (S3S4B), Tennessee (S2S3B), Texas (S4B), Utah (S3S4B,S3N), Vermont (S1B), Virginia (S3B,S4N), Washington (S3B,S3N), West Virginia (SHB), Wisconsin (S2B), Wyoming (S3B)
Canada Alberta (S2B), British Columbia (S1), Manitoba (S3S4B), New Brunswick (S1S2B,S1S2M), Nova Scotia (S1B), Ontario (S3B,S3N), Quebec (S4), Saskatchewan (S4B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDS: Washington, southern Idaho, Saskatchewan, Michigan, and Nova Scotia south to southern South America, including Antilles; also Hawaii (Niihau to Hawaii). See Spendelow and Patton (1988) for information on distribution and abundance of coastal U.S. breeding populations (most coastal breeders are along Gulf Coast and Atlantic coast north of Florida). NORTHERN WINTER: north to Oregon, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, lower Ohio Valley, Gulf Coast, and southern New England. In the U.S., the highest winter densities occur in the vicinity of inland wildlife refuges near the California-Oregon border, along the northern California coast (Humboldt Bay), in the San Joaquin Valley of California, along the lower Colorado River, near Galveston Bay in Texas, and along the coast near Jacksonville, Florida (Root 1988). Also occurs in the Old World and on other Pacific islands.

Number of Occurrences: > 300

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Has declined in some areas due to disturbance, degradation, and/or destruction of nesting and foraging areas (Herkert 1992). Particularly sensitive to disturbance just before and during laying (Tremblay and Ellison 1979). Certain U.S. breeding populations in the intermountain west have high DDT levels and exhibit low productivity; DDT may be accumulated in southwestern U.S. wintering areas. Custer et al. (1983) found that environmental contaminants had a minimal impact on overall reproductive success of U.S. Atlantic coast populations.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Stable or increasing in most areas of North America, but has declined in some areas (Herkert 1992). Populations in the south-central U.S. may be benefiting from crayfish aquaculture; bird population increases may be related to favorable foraging opportunities afforded by expanding crayfish aquaculture (Fleury and Sherry 1995). Hawaiian population was a few hundred and increasing in the mid-1980s (Scott et al. 1988); summer counts declined in the mid- and late 1980s, apparently due to a control program instituted by federal and state agencies at the request of aquaculture farmers on Oahu (Engilis and Pratt 1993).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: Washington, southern Idaho, Saskatchewan, Michigan, and Nova Scotia south to southern South America, including Antilles; also Hawaii (Niihau to Hawaii). See Spendelow and Patton (1988) for information on distribution and abundance of coastal U.S. breeding populations (most coastal breeders are along Gulf Coast and Atlantic coast north of Florida). NORTHERN WINTER: north to Oregon, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, lower Ohio Valley, Gulf Coast, and southern New England. In the U.S., the highest winter densities occur in the vicinity of inland wildlife refuges near the California-Oregon border, along the northern California coast (Humboldt Bay), in the San Joaquin Valley of California, along the lower Colorado River, near Galveston Bay in Texas, and along the coast near Jacksonville, Florida (Root 1988). Also occurs in the Old World and on other Pacific islands.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, ON, QC, SK

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AZ Mohave (04015)*, Navajo (04017)*
CA Alameda (06001), Colusa (06011), Contra Costa (06013), Fresno (06019), Glenn (06021), Humboldt (06023), Kern (06029), Kings (06031), Lassen (06035)*, Marin (06041), Mono (06051), Riverside (06065), Sacramento (06067), Solano (06095), Sutter (06101), Yolo (06113)
CT Fairfield (09001), New Haven (09009), New London (09011)
DE New Castle (10003), Sussex (10005)
FL Alachua (12001), Brevard (12009), Broward (12011), Charlotte (12015), Citrus (12017), DeSoto (12027), Duval (12031), Franklin (12037), Gulf (12045), Hamilton (12047), Hardee (12049), Hernando (12053), Hillsborough (12057), Indian River (12061), Lee (12071), Levy (12075), Manatee (12081), Marion (12083), Miami-Dade (12086), Monroe (12087), Nassau (12089), Osceola (12097), Palm Beach (12099), Pasco (12101), Pinellas (12103), Polk (12105), Sarasota (12115), St. Lucie (12111)*, Sumter (12119), Volusia (12127)*, Wakulla (12129)
GA Baker (13007)*, Bryan (13029), Camden (13039), Chatham (13051), Glynn (13127), Jenkins (13165), Lanier (13173), Liberty (13179), Long (13183), Mcintosh (13191)
IA Dickinson (19059), Franklin (19069), Osceola (19143)
ID Bannock (16005), Bear Lake (16007), Bingham (16011), Blaine (16013), Bonneville (16019), Boundary (16021), Camas (16025), Canyon (16027), Caribou (16029), Cassia (16031), Elmore (16039), Franklin (16041), Fremont (16043), Gem (16045), Gooding (16047), Jefferson (16051), Lemhi (16059), Minidoka (16067)*, Nez Perce (16069), Owyhee (16073), Payette (16075), Twin Falls (16083)
IL Bond (17005)*, Brown (17009), Calhoun (17013)*, Cook (17031), DuPage (17043), Fulton (17057), Kane (17089), Lake (17097), Lawrence (17101), Lee (17103), Madison (17119)*, Marion (17121), Mason (17125), Mchenry (17111), Monroe (17133), Rock Island (17161)*, Sangamon (17167), Shelby (17173), St. Clair (17163), Tazewell (17179), Wayne (17191), Will (17197)
IN Allen (18003), Bartholomew (18005)*, Boone (18011), Clark (18019), Clinton (18023)*, Dearborn (18029), Delaware (18035)*, Floyd (18043), Gibson (18051)*, Greene (18055), Hamilton (18057)*, Hancock (18059)*, Hendricks (18063), Henry (18065), Huntington (18069)*, Jasper (18073)*, Jay (18075), Johnson (18081), Kosciusko (18085), La Porte (18091), Lagrange (18087), Lake (18089), Madison (18095)*, Marion (18097), Montgomery (18107), Newton (18111), Noble (18113), Pike (18125)*, Porter (18127), Pulaski (18131), Tippecanoe (18157), Union (18161)*, Wayne (18177)*, White (18181)*, Whitley (18183)
KS Barton (20009), Finney (20055), Grant (20067), Haskell (20081), Labette (20099), Meade (20119), Morton (20129), Neosho (20133), Reno (20155), Sedgwick (20173)*, Seward (20175), Stafford (20185)
KY Bourbon (21017)*, Clark (21049), Greenup (21089), Harrison (21097)*, Jefferson (21111), Lyon (21143), Nicholas (21181)*, Trigg (21221)
MI Allegan (26005), Alpena (26007), Arenac (26011), Bay (26017), Charlevoix (26029), Chippewa (26033), Delta (26041), Huron (26063), Mackinac (26097), Monroe (26115), Newaygo (26123)*, Ottawa (26139), Wayne (26163)
MO Holt (29087), Jackson (29095), Mississippi (29133), Pemiscot (29155), Putnam (29171), Scott (29201), St. Louis (29189)*
MS Bolivar (28011)*, Hancock (28045), Harrison (28047)*, Hinds (28049), Holmes (28051), Issaquena (28055), Jackson (28059), Tallahatchie (28135), Warren (28149), Washington (28151), Yazoo (28163)
MT Beaverhead (30001), Cascade (30013), Chouteau (30015), Deer Lodge (30023), Phillips (30071), Ravalli (30081), Roosevelt (30085), Sheridan (30091), Teton (30099)
NE Arthur (31005), Banner (31007), Brown (31017), Cherry (31031), Clay (31035), Fillmore (31059), Garden (31069), Grant (31075), Hamilton (31081), Holt (31089), Lincoln (31111), McPherson (31117), Phelps (31137), Platte (31141), Scotts Bluff (31157), Sheridan (31161), York (31185)
NH Rockingham (33015)*
NJ Atlantic (34001), Bergen (34003), Burlington (34005), Cape May (34009), Cumberland (34011), Hudson (34017), Monmouth (34025), Ocean (34029), Sussex (34037)
NM San Juan (35045)
OH Butler (39017), Erie (39043), Hamilton (39061), Lucas (39095)
PA Berks (42011), Chester (42029)*, Cumberland (42041), Dauphin (42043), Delaware (42045), Lancaster (42071), Lebanon (42075), Luzerne (42079), Monroe (42089)*, Philadelphia (42101), York (42133)
RI Bristol (44001)*, Newport (44005), Providence (44007)*, Washington (44009)
SD Aurora (46003), Bennett (46007), Brown (46013), Brule (46015), Charles Mix (46023), Codington (46029), Day (46037), Deuel (46039), Edmunds (46045), Faulk (46049), Hamlin (46057)*, Hughes (46065), Hyde (46069), Kingsbury (46077), Lake (46079), Marshall (46091), McPherson (46089), Roberts (46109), Sanborn (46111)*, Sully (46119), Walworth (46129)
VT Chittenden (50007), Grand Isle (50013)
WA Benton (53005)+, Douglas (53017)+, Grant (53025)+, Island (53029)+, Klickitat (53039)+, Lincoln (53043)+, Okanogan (53047)+, Walla Walla (53071)+
WI Brown (55009), Buffalo (55011)*, Burnett (55013)*, Columbia (55021)*, Dane (55025)*, Dodge (55027), Door (55029), Dunn (55033)*, Eau Claire (55035)*, Fond Du Lac (55039), Green (55045), Green Lake (55047), Jefferson (55055)*, Kenosha (55059)*, Kewaunee (55061), Lafayette (55065)*, Manitowoc (55071), Marathon (55073), Marinette (55075), Marquette (55077), Milwaukee (55079)*, Oconto (55083), Outagamie (55087), Ozaukee (55089)*, Pepin (55091)*, Racine (55101)*, Rock (55105)*, Sheboygan (55117)*, St. Croix (55109)*, Trempealeau (55121)*, Walworth (55127)*, Waukesha (55133), Waushara (55137)*, Winnebago (55139)
WY Albany (56001), Carbon (56007), Goshen (56015), Laramie (56021), Lincoln (56023)*, Natrona (56025)*, Park (56029)*, Platte (56031)*, Sheridan (56033), Sublette (56035)*, Sweetwater (56037), Teton (56039)*, Uinta (56041)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Piscataqua-Salmon Falls (01060003)+*, Narragansett (01090004)+, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+, Quinnipiac (01100004)+, Housatonic (01100005)+*
02 Rondout (02020007)+, Bronx (02030102)+, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+, Sandy Hook-Staten Island (02030104)+, Long Island Sound (02030203)+, Lehigh (02040106)+*, Lower Delaware (02040202)+, Schuylkill (02040203)+, Delaware Bay (02040204)+, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+, Chincoteague (02040303)+, Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna (02050107)+, Lower Susquehanna-Swatara (02050305)+, Lower Susquehanna (02050306)+
03 Lower Savannah (03060109)+*, Upper Ogeechee (03060201)+, Ogeechee Coastal (03060204)+, Altamaha (03070106)+, Cumberland-St. Simons (03070203)+, St. Marys (03070204)+, Upper St. Johns (03080101)+, Oklawaha (03080102)+, Lower St. Johns (03080103)+, Daytona - St. Augustine (03080201)+*, Cape Canaveral (03080202)+, Vero Beach (03080203)+, Kissimmee (03090101)+, Everglades (03090202)+, Florida Bay-Florida Keys (03090203)+, Big Cypress Swamp (03090204)+, Caloosahatchee (03090205)+, Florida Southeast Coast (03090206)+, Peace (03100101)+, Myakka (03100102)+, Charlotte Harbor (03100103)+, Sarasota Bay (03100201)+, Alafia (03100204)+, Hillsborough (03100205)+, Tampa Bay (03100206)+, Crystal-Pithlachascotee (03100207)+, Withlacoochee (03100208)+, Upper Suwannee (03110201)+, Alapaha (03110202)+, Apalachee Bay-St. Marks (03120001)+, Lower Flint (03130008)+*, Ichawaynochaway (03130009)+*, Apalachicola (03130011)+, Apalachicola Bay (03130014)+, Mississippi Coastal (03170009)+, Middle Pearl-Strong (03180002)+, Lower Pearl. Mississippi (03180004)+
04 Lake Superior (04020300)+, Manitowoc-Sheboygan (04030101)+, Door-Kewaunee (04030102)+, Duck-Pensaukee (04030103)+, Oconto (04030104)+*, Peshtigo (04030105)+, Cedar-Ford (04030109)+*, Tacoosh-Whitefish (04030111)+, Upper Fox (04030201)+, Wolf (04030202)+, Lake Winnebago (04030203)+, Lower Fox (04030204)+, Little Calumet-Galien (04040001)+, Pike-Root (04040002)+, Milwaukee (04040003)+*, St. Joseph (04050001)+, Kalamazoo (04050003)+, Lower Grand (04050006)+, Pere Marquette-White (04060101)+*, Muskegon (04060102)+*, Lake Michigan (04060200)+, Kawkawlin-Pine (04080102)+, Pigeon-Wiscoggin (04080103)+*, Lake Huron (04080300)+, Detroit (04090004)+, Ottawa-Stony (04100001)+, St. Marys (04100004)+, Sandusky (04100011)+, Winooski River (04150403)+, Lake Champlain (04150408)+
05 Lower Great Miami (05080002)+, Whitewater (05080003)+*, Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103)+, Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203)+, South Fork Licking (05100102)+, Lower Kentucky (05100205)+, Upper Wabash (05120101)+, Salamonie (05120102)+, Tippecanoe (05120106)+, Wildcat (05120107)+*, Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion (05120108)+, Sugar (05120110)+*, Embarras (05120112)+, Little Wabash (05120114)+, Skillet (05120115)+, Upper White (05120201)+, Lower White (05120202)+, Driftwood (05120204)+, Flatrock-Haw (05120205)+*, Patoka (05120209)+*, Lower Cumberland (05130205)+, Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101)+
07 Upper Minnesota (07020001)+, Lac Qui Parle (07020003)+, Upper St. Croix (07030001)+*, Lower St. Croix (07030005)+*, Buffalo-Whitewater (07040003)+*, Trempealeau (07040005)+*, Lower Chippewa (07050005)+*, Lake Dubay (07070002)+, Lower Wisconsin (07070005)+*, Copperas-Duck (07080101)+*, West Fork Cedar (07080204)+, Upper Rock (07090001)+, Crawfish (07090002)+*, Pecatonica (07090003)+*, Sugar (07090004)+, Kishwaukee (07090006)+, Green (07090007)+, Kankakee (07120001)+, Iroquois (07120002)+, Chicago (07120003)+, Des Plaines (07120004)+, Upper Fox (07120006)+, Lower Fox (07120007)+, Lower Illinois-Lake Chautauqua (07130003)+, South Fork Sangamon (07130007)+, Lower Illinois (07130011)+, Cahokia-Joachim (07140101)+, Upper Kaskaskia (07140201)+, Middle Kaskaskia (07140202)+, Shoal (07140203)+*
08 Lower Mississippi-Memphis (08010100)+, New Madrid-St. Johns (08020201)+, Little River Ditches (08020204)+, Lower Mississippi-Greenville (08030100)+*, Tallahatchie (08030202)+, Upper Yazoo (08030206)+, Big Sunflower (08030207)+*, Deer-Steele (08030209)+
10 Red Rock (10020001)+, Upper Missouri-Dearborn (10030102)+, Teton (10030205)+, Middle Milk (10050004)+, Beaver (10050014)+, Big Muddy (10060006)+, Yellowstone Headwaters (10070001)+*, Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006)+*, Upper Tongue (10090101)+, Lower Lake Oahe (10130105)+, West Missouri Coteau (10130106)+, Fort Randall Reservoir (10140101)+, Medicine Knoll (10140103)+, Little White (10140203)+, Upper Niobrara (10150003)+, Middle Niobrara (10150004)+, Snake (10150005)+, Upper James (10160003)+, Mud (10160005)+, Snake (10160008)+, Lower James (10160011)+, South Big Sioux Coteau (10170103)+, Middle Big Sioux Coteau (10170201)+, Upper Big Sioux (10170202)+, Lower Big Sioux (10170203)+, Upper North Platte (10180002)+, Medicine Bow (10180004)+, Sweetwater (10180006)+, Middle North Platte-Casper (10180007)+*, Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff (10180009)+, Upper Laramie (10180010)+, Lower Laramie (10180011)+*, Horse (10180012)+, Pumpkin (10180013)+, Lower North Platte (10180014)+, Crow (10190009)+, Lower South Platte (10190018)+, Upper Middle Loup (10210001)+, Dismal (10210002)+, Upper North Loup (10210006)+, Calamus (10210008)+, Loup (10210009)+, Upper Elkhorn (10220001)+, Little Sioux (10230003)+, Tarkio-Wolf (10240005)+, Middle Republican (10250016)+, Upper Big Blue (10270201)+, West Fork Big Blue (10270203)+, Turkey (10270204)+, Upper Little Blue (10270206)+, Upper Chariton (10280201)+, Lower Missouri-Crooked (10300101)+
11 Middle Arkansas-Lake Mckinney (11030001)+, Arkansas-Dodge City (11030003)+, Pawnee (11030005)+, Rattlesnake (11030009)+, Gar-Peace (11030010)+, Cow (11030011)+, Middle Arkansas-Slate (11030013)+*, North Fork Cimarron (11040003)+, Bear (11040005)+, Upper Cimarron-Liberal (11040006)+, Crooked (11040007)+, Upper Cimarron-Bluff (11040008)+, Middle Neosho (11070205)+
14 Upper Green (14040101)+*, Upper Green-Slate (14040103)+, Big Sandy (14040104)+, Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir (14040106)+, Blacks Fork (14040107)+*, Chaco (14080106)+, Chinle (14080204)+*
15 Lake Mead (15010005)+*
16 Bear Lake (16010201)+, Middle Bear (16010202)+, East Walker (16050301)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Upper Clark Fork (17010201)+, Bitterroot (17010205)+, Chief Joseph (17020005), Upper Columbia-Entiat (17020010), Moses Coulee (17020012), Upper Crab (17020013), Banks Lake (17020014), Lower Crab (17020015), Upper Columbia-Priest Rapids (17020016), Lower Yakima, Washington (17030003), Idaho Falls (17040201)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Willow (17040205)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Blackfoot (17040207)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Raft (17040210)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, Birch (17040216)+, Camas (17040220)+, Little Wood (17040221)+, C. J. Idaho (17050101)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Upper Owyhee (17050104)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Middle Snake-Payette (17050115)+, Payette (17050122)+, Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103)+, Clearwater (17060306)+, Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula (17070101), Walla Walla (17070102), Puget Sound (17110019)
18 Mad-Redwood (18010102)+, Sacramento-Stone Corral (18020104)+, Upper Coon-Upper Auburn (18020161)+, Lower Sacramento (18020163)+, Upper Poso (18030004)+, Upper Deer-Upper White (18030005)+, Upper Dry (18030009)+, Tulare-Buena Vista Lakes (18030012)+, Upper Mokelumne (18040012)+, Upper Cosumnes (18040013)+, Suisun Bay (18050001)+, San Pablo Bay (18050002)+, San Francisco Bay (18050004)+, Santa Margarita (18070302)+, Honey-Eagle Lakes (18080003)+*, Salton Sea (18100204)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: A medium-sized wading bird with a short neck, short legs (yellowish, greenish, or pink; in flight, barely extend beyond tail), and a stout, straight, pointed bill; breeding adults have a black crown and back, with white hindneck plumes, gray wings, and white to grayish underparts; immatures are brown, spotted and streaked with white and buff, gradually changing to adult plumage over three years; average length 64 cm, wingspan 112 cm (NGS 1983). In flight, utters a loud, guttural "quock" or "quark," especially at dusk or after dark.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Adult differs from adult yellow-crowned night-heron in having a black back that contrasts with the gray wings (vs. back and wings same color). Immature differs from immature yellow-crowned nigh-heron in browner upperparts with bolder white spotting, thicker neck, paler face, and longer thinner bill with the lower mandible mostly pale (vs. dark). All ages have shorter legs than does yellow-crowned night-heron (in flight, legs extend barely beyond tail vs. well beyond tail). Immature differs from American bittern in having flight feathers that are not conspicuously darker than the brown areas of the back.
Reproduction Comments: Breeding season varies geographically, occurs in spring-early summer in north, earlier in Florida. Clutch size usually is 3-5 in north, 2-4 in south. Incubation lasts apparently 24-26 days, by both sexes. Young are tended by both sexes, first fly at about 42 days. Usually first breeds at 2-3 years. Nests in small to large colonies. See Custer et al. (1983) for data on certain Atlantic coast colonies.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Arrives in northern breeding areas March-May, departs by September-November. Extensive postbreeding dispersal to areas outside breeding range (Palmer 1962).
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Herbaceous wetland, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river, Scrub-shrub wetland, Tidal flat/shore
Riverine Habitat(s): Low gradient, Moderate gradient, Pool
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Sand/dune
Habitat Comments: Marshes, swamps, wooded streams, mangroves, shores of lakes, ponds, lagoons; salt water, brackish, and freshwater situations. Roosts by day in mangroves or swampy woodland. Eggs are laid in a platform nest in groves of trees near coastal marshes or on marine islands, swamps, marsh vegetation, clumps of grass on dry ground, orchards, and in many other situations. Nests usually with other heron species.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Feeds opportunistically on small animals; usually fishes, amphibians, and invertebrates obtained in shallow water but also small mammals and young birds on land.
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Sometimes feeds by day (especially immatures), usually crepuscular and nocturnal.
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 64 centimeters
Weight: 883 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Predation on shrimp and fishes in aquaculture ponds in Oahu, Hawaii, has resulted in control actions (Engilis and Pratt 1993).
Management Summary
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Management Requirements: In Illinois, a public viewing area used once a week by humans 229 m from a rookery did not cause any overt responses from nesting birds (DeMauro 1993).

Predation on shrimp and fishes in aquaculture ponds in Oahu, Hawaii, has resulted in control actions (Engilis and Pratt 1993).

Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Colonial Wading Birds

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Breeding Colony
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding , or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Small heron colonies (rookeries or heronries) are often ephemeral in nature; recommend tracking rookeries which maintain a minimum of 15 active nests over 2-3 years. Where concentrations of non-breeding individuals occur within the boundaries of a breeding occurrence (especially if augmented by migrants), consider creating a separate occurrence with Location Use Class 'Nonbreeding.'
Mapping Guidance: Map Foraging Areas in separate polygons from the breeding colony if they are separated from the colony by areas simply flown over on commuting routes.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Occurrences include breeding colonies and foraging areas, but the separation distance pertains to breediing colonies. Hence, difference occurrences may overlap. Unsuitable habitat: upland areas, except those known to be used regularly for foraging (e.g., meadows used by great egrets).

Separation distance is an arbitrary compromise between the high mobility of these birds and the need for occurrences of practical size for conservation planning. Occurrences do not necessarily represent discrete populations or metapopulations.

Colony fidelity low in some species (e.g. Roseate Spoonbill, Dumas 2000; Glossy Ibis, Davis and Kricher 2000).

Feeding areas associated with a breeding colony (i.e. different features of the same occurrence) may be a number of kilometers away from the colony: averaging 12 kilometers for Roseate Spoonbill (Dumas 2000); 7.3 kilometers for Glossy Ibis (Davis and Kricher 2000); 2.8 to more than 5 kilometers for Snowy Egrets (Smith 1995).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: A low mean foraging range size for this group.
Date: 28Oct2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Roost, Foraging area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of flocks of non-breeding birds (including historical), including non-breeding birds within the breeding season and breeding individuals outside the breeding season; and potential recurring presence at a given location. Normally only areas where concentrations greater than 10 birds occur regularly for at least 20 days per year would be deemed occurrences. Be cautious about creating occurrences for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance arbitrary, set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of manageable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on foraging ranges from breeding rookeries.
Date: 19Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 04May1995
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 06Apr1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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