Teaser Re-Answered

The mystery bird from yesterday’s Teaser was a toughie!   As far as we could tell at first, it was  a young Black-crowned Night Heron — one of three we saw at DeKorte that day. We had never seen Yellow-crowned Night Herons (adult or juvies) at DeKorte, so when we saw them we assumed they were BCNHs.  Never assume! It’s makes an ass of me and me, or something like that.

Congrats to all who ID’d the YCNH correctly! Full photo follows. Great ID explanation by Rick Wright is in the comment field.  (Thanks to all!)IMG_6237

2 thoughts on “Teaser Re-Answered

  1. Rick Wright

    Here’s a neat trick for non-adult night-herons: mentally tilt the bird’s body back until the tail tip touches the leg. On a black-crowned night-heron, the point of contact will be close to the toes; on a yellow-crowned night-heron, that point will be much higher, nearer the ankle.
    In fresh juveniles like this, note the degree of contrast between the flight feathers of the wing and the coverts; there is very little difference in the overall tone on a black-crowned night-heron, while on a yellow-crowned night-heron, the flight feathers are markedly more blackish.
    The size and shape of the covert spots also differs: large and somewhat blotchy on black-crowned night-herons, smaller and neatly triangular on yellow-crowned night-herons. In yellow-crowned night-herons, those spots are accompanied by fine whitish edges on the greater coverts.
    Not only the bill shape but the bill color is different between the two species. In young black-crowned night-herons, the bill shows considerable yellowish-green at the base, merging with a brighter yellowish lore to create a very colorful “face.” In yellow-crowned night-herons, the color on the bill itself is dull and limited, and the bill is often (maybe always?) black where it meets the dull greenish lore.
    I’m not very good at identifying birds from single photos, but my impression is that this is a yellow-crowned night-heron.


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