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Bayou bird ID please

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I was in New Orleans last week.

We stopped to check out at an alligator in a bayou. While trying to get an angle on the gator I found this peculiar looking bird.

Any ideas?




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Thanks Dotch,

I looked at pics of a yellow crowned night heron and thought "No Way". But after I added "immature" to the search, BINGO.

They really are the "ugly ducklings".

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De nada. Cool bird and nice photos. Could be a black crowned night heron but the yellow looked closer. Also looks sorta like my old college roomie! grin

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Well, as usual it the darn bird shows some characteristics of each.

Immature BCNHs show large white spots on the primaries and have yellow on the lower mandible of the bill. That seems to fit this bird.

Immature YCNHs show very small white spots on the primaries and solid dark bills, which does not fit this bird. But YCNHs have significantly longer necks than BCNHs do, and that fits this bird.

Birds being more variable in plumage and bill color than in physical conformation, for me the neck sways the deal, and I think its a yellow-crowned.

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I sent the pictures to the info guy at the Bayou Sauvage NWR, here is his response:

"I saw the subject on the email & said oh oh. But this is an easy one - sort of - it's an immature night heron, the red eyes are a dead give-away.

The trouble is I have never learned how to tell yellow-crowned from black-crowned herons until they get their adult plumage. Yellow are much more common around Bayou Sauvage so that would be my guess. If you lived around there you'd call it a gros-bec (grow - beck) which means big beak in cajun french."


Douglas Hunt

Refuge Ranger

Gulf Coast Refuge Complex

So either way it's my first gros-bec photograph!

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You can always go to the Birder's World Web site and submit it for a positive ID, too. They are a definitive source.

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