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SNAPSHOT - Black Crowned Night Heron at Lake Erie Country Club
SNAPSHOT - Black Crowned Night Heron at Lake Erie Country Club
By Chris Savard

Amherstburg - Dec. 18, 2012 - This is a bird that we photographed on June 10, 2012 at the Lake Erie Country Club. We have had a hard time identifying it due to the extended neck in the photo.

Our best guess was this was a Black Crowned Night Heron, but we reached out to Dwayne Murphy of Nerdy for Birdy to confirm. Dwayne offered the following - Your hunch was correct! Herons have an incredible ability to extend their necks, so you captured it while it was really stretching out its neck. That physiological adaptation allows it to stay perched on a branch and letting its neck reach down into the water and catch fish or frogs etc.

Wikipedia states that the Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), commonly abbreviated to just Night Heron in Eurasia, is a medium-sized heron found throughout a large part of the world, except in the coldest regions and Australasia (where it is replaced by the closely related Rufous Night Heron, with which it has hybridized in the area of contact).

Adults are approximately 64 cm (25 in) long and weigh 800 g (28 oz). They have a black crown and back with the remainder of the body white or grey, red eyes, and short yellow legs. They have pale grey wings and white under parts. Two or three long white plumes, erected in greeting and courtship displays, extend from the back of the head. The sexes are similar in appearance although the males are slightly larger. Black-crowned Night Herons do not fit the typical body form of the heron family. They are relatively stocky with shorter bills, legs, and necks than their more familiar cousins, the egrets and "day" herons. Their resting posture is normally somewhat hunched but when hunting they extend their necks and look more like other wading birds.

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