Yellow-crowned Night Heron or Orange-eyed Day Heron?

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Yellow-crowned Night HeronYellow-crowned Night Heron – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/350, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm at 400mm, natural light

Despite having “Night Heron” in their name Yellow-crowned Night Herons (Nyctanassa violacea) are not strictly denizens of the dark, they can and do stalk their prey during the daylight hours too. Usually they are as active during the day as they are at night. You can see one catch and stuff itself with a Ghost Crab here in broad daylight.

The day I created the image above it had been raining just before I took the photo, the moisture laden air added vibrancy to the colors.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron portraitYellow-crowned Night Heron portrait – Nikon D200, handheld, f9, 1/400, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm at 400mm, natural light

This perched Yellow-crowned Night Heron was on a branch of a dead tree and allowed me to approach closely enough to create this portrait that shows the fine detail in its salt and sand encrusted bill.

I wonder why they didn’t call them Orange-eyed Day Herons. 🙂

Mia

24 Comments

  1. Mathew September 14, 2012 at 10:45 am

    My sentiments exactly on these ridiculous vernacular names. There is no yellow on the crown that I can observe. The scientific name suggests that the gray of the head is tinged violet, which is somewhat more appropriate. Many types of warblers, for example, also have pointless vernacular names. There is the orange-crowned, Nashville, and Tennessee, the first of which never reveals its namesake color, and the latter two are only infrequently encountered from their namesake localities only in migration.

    • Mia McPherson September 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      Matthew, during breeding season there is a slight, very small area of yellow on the crown but not nearly enough to have the name “Yellow-crowned” and the birds do feed night and day so “night Heron” does seem out of place too. I guess they have to give them a common name but some times they don’t fit well.

  2. Larry Jordan September 6, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Excellent detail in these photos Mia. Your portrait is incredible. Perfect light on that Orange-eyed Day Heron!

    • Mia McPherson September 6, 2012 at 7:51 am

      Thanks Larry, I was tickled to have such nice light and that the heron allowed me to slowly approach close enough to get the portrait.

  3. Susan September 5, 2012 at 9:24 am

    What fabulous images, wonderful!

    • Mia McPherson September 6, 2012 at 7:47 am

      Thanks for your comment Susan.

  4. Dan Huber September 5, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Love this portrait shot, what a gorgeous eye.

    • Mia McPherson September 6, 2012 at 7:41 am

      Thank you dan, they do have lovely eyes.

  5. Stu September 4, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Great Portrait Shot.

  6. M. Firpi September 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Great images, I like their feather patterns a lot!

    • Mia McPherson September 6, 2012 at 7:40 am

      They do have neat plumage petterns. Thanks Maria.

  7. Carol Mattingly September 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    He’s so small. But I love the colors. Carol

  8. Tammy Karr September 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Haha, clever new name! Gorgeous photos as always!

    • Mia McPherson September 6, 2012 at 7:39 am

      Thanks Tammy, the name I gave it makes me giggle and giggling is always good.

  9. Laurence Butler September 4, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Super sharp! Love these Herons and their big bug eyes!

    • Mia McPherson September 6, 2012 at 7:38 am

      I love the bug-eyed herons too Laurence! Thank you.

  10. Hilke Breder September 4, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Love those images, Mia. I bet those eyes don’t miss anything!

    • Mia McPherson September 6, 2012 at 7:38 am

      Thank you Hilke. I bet those eyes don’t miss a thing too!

  11. Beverly Everson September 4, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Wonderful detail! Fabulous work–as always!

    • Mia McPherson September 6, 2012 at 7:37 am

      Thanks for commenting Beverly

  12. Bob Bushell September 4, 2012 at 5:48 am

    The head shot is tremendous, thanks Mia.

    • Mia McPherson September 6, 2012 at 7:37 am

      Thank you Bob, I’m glad the heron allowed me to approach it close enough to get the head shot.

Comments are closed.