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Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

With its striking "crown", this heron is king of the night

What you need to know about the Yellow-crowned Night Heron

The Yellow-Crowned Night Heron is larger than the Lava Heron standing around 2ft (60cm) tall. It is known for its stocky stature, with a thick neck that becomes thinner when extended. This feature can make its head look comically oversized for its body, and represents a golden photo opportunity on your Galápagos cruise!

If you are trying to spot a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, then look out for their very distinctive head markings. They characteristically have white cheeks with a yellow crown going from around its head to the eyes and bill, with the addition of a long white feather on the top of their crown. A very regal looking bird indeed.

This heron is an endemic species to Galápagos. It shares a similar habitat with other herons in the mangroves, swamps and marshes. It lives close to both fresh and salty waters which helps provide them with food. A large part of their diet is crustaceans, although they also enjoy feeding upon scorpions, locusts and other insects. They catch their food mainly at night as this is when this bird is most active. This behaviour and their distinctive plumage give this heron it’s accurately descriptive name!

This distinctive bird can sometimes be found further inland. It’s now commonly seen in towns, specifically around street lights hunting for nocturnal insects attracted by the bright lights. If you have a town excursion during your Galápagos cruise, or if you are spending time in town before or after your time onboard ship, keep a lookout for heron nests on rooftops.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron: Interesting facts

In Spanish this bird is known as 'guaque' - a word that resembles this herons sharp call

Now commonly seen in towns hunting around street lamps

With their neck fully extended their heads look too large for their body

Yellow-crowned Night Heron: Pictures from our travelers

Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Spots where the Yellow-crowned Night Heron can be observed

A walk on Bartholomew
A walk on Bartholomew

Bartholomew (known as Bartolomé locally) is the most popular excursion for Galápagos visitors, and its iconic scenery is the most photographed in the whole archipelago.

To start your walk on this island you will land in the small bay opposite the famous Pinnacle Rock. You then start the climb to the 375ft peak of Bartholomew. You’ll travel along a half mile trail that includes a series of wooden steps that have been built by the National Park Service to protect the ground here from erosion caused by tourists hiking to the summit.

When you arrive at the top of island the spectacular views will have made your efforts worthwhile. Your Galapatours expert guide will point out all the landmarks you will see from here - Pinnacle Rock itself, jutting skywards. The huge black lava flows of Sullivan Bay. The islands of Daphne Major and Daphne Minor.

On the way back down, you will be able to recognise the different volcanic formations evident on the island, such as tuff cones and volcanic spatter. You'll also see some remarkable examples of the Galápagos' ability to highlight the adaptation of species. For example the  bushes that all look dead are actually very much alive, with leaves covered with special grey hairs that help to reflect the harsh sun and reduce moisture loss for the plants.

Back at the beach there is excellent snorkeling, thanks to the underwater caves and rocks in the area. You will see various sharks, rays and tropical fish. You may also see Galápagos Penguins swimming with you!

Chinese Hat
Chinese Hat

Chinese Hat ("Sombrero Chino" to locals) is an islet set just a short distance off the southeastern coast of Santiago. The small channel between Chinese Hat and mainland Santiago is fairly deep yet sheltered, and the water here is a glistening turquoise.

The islet gets its name because if you approach from the north, you will see that this small volcanic cone does indeed look like the traditional bamboo or rice hat. Viewed from above on a satellite image, however, you will see that this islet is actually more of an oval shape.

There is a short hiking trail on Chinese Hat that runs along the western coast of the islet. This is a harsh landscape of volcanic rubble and lava formations, a very atmospheric reminder of the fiery origins of the Galápagos.

Along the cost of both Chinese Hat and the opposite Santiago shore you are likely to see Galápagos Sea Lions and Galápagos Penguins, either basking in the sun or seeking shade to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Overhead, you might catch a glimpse of the magnificent Galápagos Hawk.

The stand-out reason for a visit to Chinese Hat however is to snorkel in that turquoise channel. Here you can see various species of sharks, rays, and a variety of tropical fish. Not all Galápagos boats can visit, and permits are only given to a select few boats and guides. Here at Galapatours we offer itineraries on all of these specially selected boats, so if a visit to Chinese Hat is important to you, speak to one of our Galápagos experts today to help choose the perfect itinerary.

Our trips to spot the Yellow-crowned Night Heron

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