Last year, a few Yellow-crowned Night-Herons arrived at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma around this time of year. I’ve been keeping an eye out for them in the area where they were last year, and on April 11, I was finally rewarded with a sighting! I was able to get this photo of one of the herons from the auto tour road from inside my pickup. I had my camera and lens resting on a beanbag draped over an open window.

Yellow-crowned Night-Herons Return

Yellow-crowned Night-Herons Return

The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) is a fascinating bird that is known for its distinctive appearance and behavior. This medium-sized heron has a stout, powerful bill that is perfect for catching its prey, which includes fish, crustaceans, and insects. Its plumage is striking, with a gray body, a black head, and a bright yellow crown. The yellow coloration becomes more vibrant during breeding season, making the bird even more striking.

The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is primarily a nocturnal bird, making it a challenge to spot during the day. It can often be found near water bodies, such as marshes, swamps, and streams. It is a solitary bird, and pairs only during the breeding season. In addition to its striking appearance, the bird has a unique hunting behavior. It is known to use its wings to create shade, which attracts fish and other prey to the surface of the water.

I was thrilled to see these beautiful birds again, and I hope that they will continue to thrive at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge for many years to come.

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R5
  • Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM


  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date and Time Taken: April 11, 2023 (07:15 A. M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f7.1
  • Shutter speed: 1/250
  • ISO: 10000 (Auto)
  • Exposure Compensation:  +2/3
  • Focal Length: 500 mm

Related Posts:

  1. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Portrait