I photographed this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron eating a Crayfish at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma back in June 2017. They appear at this refuge during this month and I can usually find them close to the tour road after a rain.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron With A Crayfish – Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge – Oklahoma

The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron eats mainly crustaceans (crabs and crayfish) as well as insects, some fish or worms. It can also feed on lizards, small rodents and small birds. The main thing I see these birds eating on at this refuge is crayfish.

How I Got The Shot – Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

I spotted this Heron close to the tour road in the area of Miner’s Cove. It was busy catching Crayfish and didn’t pay me any attention. I was able to park my pickup on the side of the road to get this shot.

I had my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera resting on a bean bag draped over the open window of my pickup. I was using a Canon EF 100 – 400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/320 of a second at f7.1 and the ISO at 1000. White Balance on auto. I was using single point, continuous auto focus with evaluative metering.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Facts

  • The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron can forage at any time of day and night. It prefers feeding its young at night.
  • The Heron stands at the burrow’s entrance when hunting crayfish, always facing the sun so that its shadow is not cast over the burrow’s entrance, which alerts the crayfish.
  • Small prey are swallowed whole while larger prey are dismembered to eat the body first and the legs last. It will also carry crabs, crayfish or fish away from the water to prevent them from escaping.
  • Any indigestible material, such as crab shells, is ejected in a pellet, and it is quite common to find these pellets scattered around foraging and nesting areas.