The night heron has distinctive coloring with a black crown and back with the underparts white to pale gray. The wings, rump and tail are gray. The bill is stout and black, and the eyes are red. For most of the year, the legs of the adult are yellow-green, but by the height of the breeding season, they have turned pink. Their average length is 58 – 72 cm and they weigh about 800 g.
Black-crowned night herons nest colonially, and often there can be more than a dozen nests in one tree. They are presumed to be monogamous. There is one brood per season. Incubation, which lasts 24-26 days, is carried out by both adults.
These birds stand still at the water’s edge and wait to ambush prey at night or early morning. They eat small fish, crustaceans, frogs, aquatic insects, small mammals and small birds.
They are found throughout a large part of the world, except in the coldest regions and Australasia.
They inhabit a variety of wetland habitats such as swamps, streams, rivers, marshes, mud flats and the edges of lakes that have become overgrown with rushes and cattails.
Habitat destruction is an important factor. IUCN Red List: Least concern.