Sunday, April 13, 2014

Breeding display of yellow crowned night heron

Yellow crowned night herons are commonly seen in salt water areas and sometimes inland also.  The adult male and female are essentially indistinguishable and normally do not show any especially notable behavior. However I saw a heron today (April 13, 2014) which surprised me.  I am assuming it was a male because it engaged in a display in which its back plumes were rotated forward and outwards.This resulted in a very striking posture which I assume was directed towards a nearby female.  
During breeding season there are also two long head plumes and the legs turn reddish.  The overall impression is very much like the exotic birds of paradise of New Guinea and I assume the purpose is the same, to entice a female into mating.

Bill Dunson

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