Yellow-crowned Night Heron

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


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 Galapagos 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 Galapagos. 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 Galapagos cruise, or if you are spending time in town before or after your time onboard ship, keep a lookout for heron nests on rooftops.

Photos of the Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Fast Facts about the Yellow-crowned Night Heron

  • 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

Where can the Yellow-crowned Night Heron be seen?

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All cruises to visit the Yellow-crowned Night Heron