The Yellow-crowned Night Heron is a rare visitor
to South Dakota, as it is normally found in the southeastern United
States. It is normally a secretive and solitary bird. Despite the
name, it is also active and feeds during the day. It has a very thick
stout bill, well adapted to feeding on crabs and other crustaceans,
leading to it's local name of "crab-eater" in many parts of the South.
Habitat: Very seldom in open areas, prefers wooded
rivers, lakes, and ponds.
Diet: Feeds heavily on crustaceans, especially
crayfish in the interior of the country. Also will eat fish, insects,
tadpoles, and frogs.
Behavior: Will feed at any time of day, but very
often near dusk and at night. Feeds by either standing still in
shallow water or on a perch overlooking water, or by wading deliberately
through the water in search of prey.
Breeding: No confirmed breeding records in South
Dakota, although several summer observations have occurred in recent
Song: A hollow squawking kwock.
Migration: Mainly summers in
the southeastern United States. Winters along the coastlines, Mexico,
Central America, and the West Indies.
Status: Expanding in both range and numbers.
eNature.com - Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Whatbird.com - Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Additional Photos: Click on the links below for
additional, higher-resolution photos of this species.