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Black-crowned night heron


Common name Black-crowned night heron
Scientific name Nycticorax nycticorax
Type Waterbirds
Status Resident

Medium sized wader (about 65 cm or 25.5 in) belonging to the family of the herons, among which it stands out due to its smaller size. Adults with generally greyish plumage, lighter in the belly. Darker wings, back and cap in the head. Long, black bill. Yellow legs. Eye with red iris. Long black feathers on the head as a tuft on the nape during the breeding season. Juveniles with mottled brown plumage. Slow flight, with the neck gathered like egrets, and short wings.


Wetlands, River and Riverside

Where it lives

Well-preserved freshwater wetlands, with a dense border of marsh vegetation that includes arboreal stratum. Reservoirs, banks, ditches and sometimes in mouths near the coast.

How it lives

Species resident in the province, although a rare and very localized breeder. Nests in colonies in trees. One laying in May of 3 to 5 eggs. Night and twilight habits. The Black-Crowned Night Heron feeds on fish, amphibians and large insects, but also captures crabs and rats. It hunts lurking, motionless on the shore or from low branches, with rapid movements of the neck.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Common bird and not difficult to observe. Present in the lower course of the Guadalhorce River and in some coastal reservoirs of the littoral of Marbella.

Curious facts

Its Latin name means "nocturnal crow" (from the Greek nyktos, "night", and korax, "raven"). The ancient naturalists thought that this heron of nocturnal habits was very similar to the corvids. In a certain way they were not mistaken: it emits a call that really is very similar to the croaking of the crows.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration