Today’s Heron post covers the adults of the other herons we may run into along the edges of ponds and waterways. These are squatter-looking birds, with a more hunched posture and shorter necks, than the previous group. We’ll start with the familiar smallish heron of wooded streams and ponds – the Green Heron.

This bird is often seen huddled at the edge of the water, looking slightly grumpy, but it can stretch its neck out surprisingly long when it wishes. In flight, it’s often overlooked, as it’s about crow-sized and -shaped, but the bulky head area (due to the folded neck) is a dead giveaway.
The next, slightly larger heron, is very similar in posture, but very different in plumage and habits. Unlike the green-backed, red-necked Green Heron, the Black-crowned Night Heron is a light-colored bird with a black cap and back. These birds, as the name implies, are often pretty quiet and inactive during the day, but at dusk they fly out like large, odd-looking bats, to river and pond edges, where they can be surprisingly active hunters, scurrying (slowly) around like giant plovers…

Although our next bird is also a Night Heron, the Yellow-crowned Night Heron is as different as night and day from its cousin.  This bird is actually frequently seen hunting during the day, and it looks and acts more like a regular smallish heron – long neck, traditional “heron” appearance and behavior – than the Black-crowned.  The Yellow-crowned’s longer neck and striped face with a straw-colored cap are hard to mistake.