Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

In Albums: nature birds Philadelphia

A juvenile yellow-crowned night-heron, perched on the edge of dense vegetation on the edge of a muddy stream.

Jun 29th, 2012, by Alex Zorach

This photo shows a juvenile yellow-crowned night-heron (see Wikipedia or Cornell Lab of Ornithology for more about this species).

This bird was spotted on July 29th, 2012, in Cobbs Creek Park, Philadelphia. This photo was taken from the bridge across the creek, near the Environmental Education Center at the end of Catharine street. This is the most unusual bird I've seen this year, since the end of fall migration. This bird is probably a year-round resident in Philadelphia county, but is infrequently reported, probably owing to its usually nocturnal habits. eBird had no records in June, and no records at this site or nearby.

I quickly identified this bird as a juvenile night heron by its heavily streaked, camoflaged plumage and large, red eye. I first thought that it would be a black-crowned night heron, because the black-crowned species is more likely to be active during the day, and is more common in this area. But upon actually examining the bird it is clear that it is a yellow-crowned night-heron, not black-crowned. Some of the distinguishing characteristics: