Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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[Mystery bird] Yellow-crowned Night-heron, Nycticorax violaceus, photographed at Bolivar Flats, Texas. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

Image: Joseph Kennedy, 24 July 2009 [larger view].

Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope with TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/750s f/8.0 at 1000.0mm iso400.

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

Review all mystery birds to date.


  1. #1 John Callender
    August 30, 2009

    I’m going to go with an immature yellow-crowned night-heron. I’m basing that mostly on the bill; going by Sibley, the immature black-crowned would have more yellow on the beak, which would also be more-sharply pointed.

  2. #2 Hilary
    August 30, 2009

    Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, I agree – that’s a Night-Heron’s bill, and the neck is right, too. And if (as seems likely from the absence of a light cheek patch) it’s a new juvenile, I’d expect to see a fluff of feathers at the back of the head on a Black-crowned. My first thought was some kind of grebe, but none I know of has both an orange eye and a heavy black bill.

  3. #3 Michelle Scholz
    August 31, 2009

    I will call it Black-crowned Night Heron because of the yellow on the bill. Immature Yellow-crowneds have all dark bills, as I recall.

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