More Birds in TaiwanEurasian Teal
ON TAIWAN “Endemic Subspecies of Taiwan birds—first impressions”, by N. J.
Collar, from BirdingASIA
No. 2, December 2004. Presented with permission.
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Black-crowned Night Heron
The Black-crowned Night Heron is a medium-sized (60 cm), stocky heron with black crown and back, creamy white undersides and gray wings. In breeding plumage it has two long, thin white plumes on its nape. Its legs and feet are yellow, its bill black and its iris red. Juvenile birds are brown overall, with white spotting on the back, a buffy breast with heavy brown streaking and a yellow iris.
The Black-crowned Night Heron uses a wide variety of wet habitats including fresh, brackish or salt water, particularly areas with aquatic vegetation on shallow rivers, lagoons, ponds, lakes, swamps and marshes. It also frequents human habitats such as pastures, rice fields, canals and fish ponds. Its food is extremely varied, and it will use whatever is available, including fish, frogs, tadpoles, turtles, snakes, lizards, insects, crustaceans, molluscs, small rodents, eggs and chicks of other bird species. It feeds mainly at dusk and at night, but is often seen in the daytime flying between locations or roosting in trees. The Black-crowned Night Heron breeds in colonies and may reuse its nest of sticks, rushes and reeds in successive years. Its nest is usually placed in trees or bushes, but may also be in reedbeds or on cliff edges. The female usually lays 3-5 eggs, and does most of the incubating.
The Black-crowned Night Heron is a common resident of Taiwan at low elevations.
References: A Field Guide to the Birds of China (Mackinnon and Phillipps); 100 Common Birds of Taiwan (Wild Bird Society of Taipei); Handbook of Birds of the World Vol. 1