Yellow-crowned night heron

Nyctanassa violacea

The Yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea) Is a medium-sized, long-legged wading bird. About 1.5 times larger than a football and similarly shaped. Considered nighttime feeders, we regularly hear these beautiful birds in the treetops and often spot them inside mangrove tunnels on our kayak tours. Adult males are beautifully colored and aptly named for their yellow crowns. Their bodies are covered in grayish feathers similar to the Great Blue Heron color. They have a black face with white cheeks and have yellow legs. Closely related to the Black-crowned night heron and Green heron. All three species are similarly shaped like a football. The football shape is due to their necks being shorter than birds like the Great Egret or Tri-Colored Heron.


Found year round in Southwest Florida and seasonal throughout the southeast atlantic coast all the way west to texas and mid way up the Missippi river delta.


Primarily feed on crustaceans such as crayfish, crabs, and larger insects. In the Everglades, mangrove crabs are a favorite menu item.