Although adult male and female black-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) look similar, juveniles are distinctively different from adults. Juvenile black-crowned night-herons have brown and white streaked upper parts and buffy under parts. Their eye is orange to bright red, the bill is mostly yellow and the legs are a yellowish green. It is hard to believe this pictured juvenile will some day look like the adult black-crowned night-herons in Monday’s post.
Interestingly, a young night-heron will disgorge its stomach contents when disturbed, a trait not present in adults. Night-herons are not particular about which chicks they brood so will often care for chicks other than their own. So the pictured young heron may have been “adopted” and raised by parents other than his own.
This black-crowned night-heron was photographed along the Pit River in Shasta County CA.