Herons, egrets and night-herons are medium- to large-sized waterbirds with long necks and legs, unwebbed feet and long, straight, dagger-shaped bills. The smaller, white herons are usually referred to as egrets. The sexes are alike in all species.
The Yellow-crowned Night Heron is a fairly common resident of Galapagos and commonly seen on our Galapagos cruises; endemic subspecies pauper. It is mainly found in the coastal areas of Islands like Fernandina Island, Isabela Island, Tower Island and San Cristobal Island, among others. It breeds throughout the year and nests close to the ground amongst mangrove roots or rocks and sometimes in caves.
A medium-sized, squat heron, with legs protruding beyond the tip of the tail in flight. Adult: Unmistakable; generally dark grey with pale fringes to wing and back feathers; black head with white cheeks and yellow crown; legs yellow and bill black. Immature: Similar to adult but plumage brown rather than grey and head pattern indistinct. Juvenile: Dark brown with white or buff spots and streaks on upperparts, and creamy-white and brown streaks on underparts; lacks the head markings of adult. Underwings are grayish.
A range of calls but typically an often-repeated, rather high-pitched "kwok"; in flight gives a "scalp".
Mainly nocturnal, often seen flying from roost sites at dusk to feed; usually a solitary feeder but flocks can sometimes be found around coastal lagoons.