Yellow-crowned Night Heron, BraeBurn No. 16, April 20, 2017
Another distinctive wading bird that we have at BraeBurn is the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron.  Even though we have what looks to be the perfect habitat for this heron in the shallow waters below number 16 tee and along hole number 9, it took me over a year to see one at BraeBurn – and then I started seeing them more frequently, but only during the summer months.  The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is distinguished by its dusty violet-colored body and a bold white-striped head pattern that reminds me of a badger.
 
Like its Black-crowned Night-Heron cousin (BraeBirds, March, 2017), the Yellow-crowned Night Heron sports a long ornamental head plume during breeding season, just visible in the photo above.  Also, its legs are usually orange but turn coral pink or red during breeding season, as in the photo.
 
This is a shallow-water crustacean eater that lives year-round along the coast of South America from Ecuador around to southern Brazil, along both coasts of Central America and Mexico, throughout the Caribbean, and along the Texas/Louisiana coast and in southern Florida.  It summers during breeding season in the Lower Mississippi and Ohio river valleys and along the US Atlantic coast.  At BraeBurn I see the Black-crowned Night-Heron much more frequently, and almost always on hole number 4, so seeing the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is a bit of a surprise – and a real treat.