Nycticorax nycticorax   Linnaeus,  1758 (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: Pbase

Size: Length 58-65 cm.

Color: back and crown black; wings, rump and tail grey; face, foreneck and underparts white; long occipital plumes white. Immature brown spotted with white above, below buff heavily streaked with brown. Bare parts: iris crimson in adult, orange-yellow to red in immature; facial skin greenish, blue-black when breeding; bill greenish black, black when breeding; feet and legs pale yellow, red when courting.

Voice: Usually silent, weck or kwock in flight.

Habits: Nocturnal or crepuscular except in breeding season. Generally gregarious, during daytime roots in dense trees, often at dusk, breeds in pure colonies from December to September, April to May in Kashmir and June-July to September in N India.

Adult: Sexes alike, strongly built grey, white and black heron with stout black bill. Crown, nape and occipital crest black with two or three very long, narrow white plumes, forehead and a streak over eye white, sides of neck, wings, rump and tail greyish, eyes blood-red, underparts white, legs and feet pale-green, in breeding season turn pinkish and bill blacker. Juvenile: Pale-smoky brown with bright yellow eyes and resembles adult Indian Pond-Heron except for white wings. Eggs are laid mid May to mid June.

Nesting: Season- between April and September in N. India, December to February in the south. Nest- the usual twig structure of egrets. Built in colonies in canopy of large leafy trees or screwpine brakes, near or removed from water. Eggs-4 or 5, pale sea-green. Both sexes share all domestic duties.

It is a opportunistic feeder; diet consists mainly of fish as well as leeches, earthworms, aquatic and terrestrial insects, crayfish, mussels, squid, amphibians, lizards, snakes, rodents, birds, eggs, carrion, plant material and garbage at landfills.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Night Teron (Bengali)
• Night Heron (English)
• Wak (Hindi)
• Kwak (Hindi)
• Kokrai (Hindi)
• black-crowned night heron (English)
• black-crowned night-heron (English)
• Night Heron (English)
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Estuarine, Muddy, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Fish and aquatic insects.
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Goa, Aguada marsh INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA
• Goa, St. George's Island INDIA (Record: 02/1875)
• Goa, Baga INDIA
• Goa, Cumbarjua canal INDIA
• Goa, Carambolim INDIA
• Goa, Sinquerim marsh INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Pondicherry, Pondicherry mangrove (Lat: 11.76) (Long: 79.82) INDIA (Record: 01/2002-12/2003)
• Pondicherry, Pondicherry mangrove (Lat: 11.89) (Long: 79.8) INDIA (Record: 01/2002-12/2003)
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 75.96) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.66) (Long: 76.18) INDIA
• Kerala, Vembanad Lake (Lat: 9.66) (Long: 76.55) INDIA
• Kerala, Vembanad Lake (Lat: 9.28) (Long: 76.31) INDIA
• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • (2001) Sanctuary Asia natural history species: Species checklist: Birds Sanctuary Asia Sanctuary Magazine Available at -
  • Tikader, BK (1984) Birds of Andaman and Nicobar Island ZSI, Kolkata 1-167 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Johnsingh, AJT (2001) The Kalakad-Mundanthurai tiger reserve: A global heritage of biological diversity Current Science Indian Acadamy of Sciences 80(3) 378-388 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Available at -
  • Westheide, W (2000) Mahesia ammophila, a new genus and species of interstitial hesionid (Annelida: Polychaeta) from the Indian Ocean Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 113(3) 644-651
  • Kumar, A (2002) Avifauna of Kumbhalgarh wildlife sanctuary in the Aravalli hills of Rajasthan Zoos' Print Journal 17(4) 764-768 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Barua, M (2001) Mid winter waterfowl census at Pobitora wildlife sanctury for the year 2000 Zoos' Print Journal 16(5) 500-501 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Abbaasi, SA (1997) Wetlands of India-Ecology and Threats Discovery Publishing House,New Delhi II 1-182 Available at - NIO, RC Kochi
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Lainer, H (2004) Birds of Goa : A reference book The Goa Foundation, Goa 244 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Ali, S (1977) The book of Indian birds Bombay Natural History Society 175 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • PBase Available at -
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Saravanan, KR; Ilangovan, K and Khan, AB (2008) Floristic and macro faunal diversity of Pondicherry mangroves, South India Tropical Ecology International Association for Ecology, Cambridge University Press 49(1) 91-94 Available at -
  • Nameer, PO (2005) Wetlands and waterfowl conservation in kerala with special reference to Ramsar sites kerala environment congress 2005 Centre for environment and development 97-112 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • (1997) Coastal marine environment of Gujarat 178pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Srinivasulu, C (2004) Birds of kawal wildlife sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh , India Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 101(1) 3-25 Available at - NIO, Goa

Page last updated on:2012-02-09

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