The black crowned night Heron is a small Heron species is found in southern Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia. It is a rare visitor to the UK. My only previous experience of this species in the UK was of the birds that had escaped from Edinburgh Zoo in the 1980s and which could sometimes be seen perched in the trees around the zoo enclosures. They were being reported at least until 2010.
Video of Free Flying Night Herons in Edinburgh Zoo by Debbie Grant
There has recently been a long staying night Heron in Shrewsbury, which I got to see at the beginning of June and which I understand is still there. There have been some doubts raised as to its wild status and certainly, it is very tolerant of human presence around the small lake where it is taken up residence.
Night herons, like other members of the Heron family, hunt by standing still at the water’s edge and ambushing their prey. As their name suggests they feed mainly at night. They eat mainly small fish and aquatic animals so I do wonder what the Shrewsbury bird is feeding on around this small pond.
Whatever the status of this bird, wild or escape, they are one of my favourite birds and beautiful to look at.