067 (Black-crowned) Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax )


58-65cm. The Black-crowned Night Heron is a short-billed, very stocky, medium-sized heron with short, dull pinkish-yellow legs (reddish when breeding). It has black cap and back, its breast is yellow-grey. Its nape holds 2-3 very characteristic thin white plumes. Most often seen at dawn or dusk, flying to and from roosts, but not always strictly nocturnal, and daytime sightings not infrequent. Adults are unmistakable in good views, but in flight often looks all grey (black back often difficult to see).


In Hungary the Black-crowned Night Heron is migrant, fairly common breeder in colonies in floodplain woods along larger rivers. Colonies of varying size also exist on fishponds and marshes across the Great Plain and in Transdanubia. Migrant. Stays in Hungary between March and October, but some individuals can be observed in November or very rarely in December.

067 (Black-crowned) Night Heron pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008