The Black-crowned is the Night Heron most likely
to be seen in South Dakota. Less solitary than the Yellow-crowned
Night Heron (a rare visitor to the state), they are often seen in large groups during the day, sitting
motionless in trees or thickets. Black-crowned Night Herons are also
more nocturnal of the two species, feeding primarily at night.
Habitat: Wide variety of fresh and salt-water
Diet: Omnivorous, feeding on fish,
crustaceans, insects, amphibians, small rodents, small reptiles, small birds,
and occasionally plant material.
Behavior: Forages in shallow water, either
standing still and waiting for prey to come within range, or walking slowly
in search of food. Will forage at any time of day, but is typically
most active from dusk through dawn.
Nesting: June and July. Black-crowned
Night-Herons breed in colonies, sometimes single species colonies, but often in
mixed colonies with other wading bird species. The nest is a platform of
sticks, most often placed in trees and shrubs, but sometimes on the ground.
The female usually lays 3 or 4 eggs, and both parents help to incubate them.
When the eggs hatch, both parents help to feed the young. The young fledge
after about 6 weeks.
Migration: Summers throughout
much of the U.S. and southern Canada. Winters along U.S. coasts, Mexico,
and Central America.
Black-crowned Night Heron
Whatbird.com: Black-crowned Night Heron
Photo Information: May 14th, 2010 - Lake Whitewood in
eastern South Dakota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Black-crowned Night Heron