Kingdom Animalia
Click to hear the call  Click to watch the video
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Ciconiiformes
Family Ardeidae
Genus Nycticorax
Species nycticorax
Classification Linnaeus, 1758
Common name black-crowned night-heron
Size 58 - 65 centimeters
Wing Span 105 - 112 centimeters
Male weight 550 grams
Female weight 550 grams

Geographic Range it is found all over the world, with the exception of Oceania and Indochina.
Physical Characteristics not very long neck and legs; very elongated beak, slim body, no sexual dimorphism. The adult has a black cap, upper back and scapulars; grey wings, rump and tail; the underparts range from white to pale grey; the beak is black; eyes are red. For most of the year, the legs of the adult are yellow-green, but by the coming of the breeding season, they have turned pink. The eyes of the juveniles are yellowish or amber; the head, neck, breast and belly are brown streaked with white. The wings and the back part of the body are darker brown, though the tips of the feathers have large white spots. The young do not fully acquire adult plumage until the third year of age.
Behaviour it defends aggressively its feeding territory. It prefers to feed in shallow waters, where it grasps its prey with its beak. It usually feeds from evening to early morning.
Habitat it lives near shallow fresh water.
Flight it slowly beats its wings with its head folded back and legs stretched. The flight is powerful and regular. When flying on cold days it retracts its feet in order to conserve heat.
Food habits it mainly feeds on fish, even if it occasionally eats insects, earthworms, mussels, lizards, rodents, bird eggs.
Migration in Italy it is a regularly migratory species, nest-building and partially wintering.
Nidification it nests colonially on trees or among beds of reed. It has a brood per season. It nests colonially and often there can be more than a dozen black-crowned night herons building their nest on one tree. The nest is built near the trunk of a tree or in the fork of branches. The male initiates nest building by refurbishing an old nest or building a new one. The nest is usually a platform lined with roots and blades of grass. During and after pair formation, the male collects sticks and presents them to the female, who works them into the nest. 4-5 days after pair formation 3-5 eggs are laid. Incubation lasts 24-26 days and it is carried out by both parents. On hot days, the parents beat their wings over the eggs in order to keep them cool. Both parents feed the young. After two weeks the young leave the nest, although they don't go much far. Within 6-7 weeks they can fly well and they depart in order to feed. The adults cannot recognise their own young and will accept and feed young coming from other nests.
Status in the lagoon in the lagoon it is found in Val Dogà and at the mouth of Adige river.

References Les oiseaux du Moulin
Univesity of Michigan - Museum of Zoology
I censimenti degli uccelli svernanti in Provincia di Venezia - a cura di M. Bon e G. Cherubini - Provincia di Venezia, Assessorato Caccia e Pesca.
Web References http://www.ledid.net
Source of the photo http://birds.cornell.edu/slow/bcnh/bcnh.html
Source of the call http://www.naturesongs.com/
Source of the video http://www.hbw.com/ibc/

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