maxine

? heron chick

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post-36921-0-48049800-1359683222_thumb.jpgI took this today in the lower Everglades, FL, 1 31 13. I was thinking it was a heron chick... stripe over eye black, but legs yellow not black as adults have.. Thanks, Maxine

I hope this works, m

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post-36921-0-48049800-1359683222_thumb.jpgI took this today in the lower Everglades, FL, 1 31 13. I was thinking it was a heron chick... stripe over eye black, but legs yellow not black as adults have.. Thanks, Maxine

I hope this works, m

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Believe it or not, this is the parent. It's a young Black-crowned Night-Heron, subadult, probably its first time breeding.

ETA:. here's a photo (not mine) of an adult of this species, with a nestling: http://artshotz.com/sample-images/Nycticorax_nycticorax_v12008-7.jpg

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I'm thinking it's not a parent or a chick, but just standing in the nest, maybe testing it out. I don't see an egg.

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I'm thinking it's not a parent or a chick, but just standing in the nest, maybe testing it out. I don't see an egg.

I agree. Even in the Everglades I would guess that January is a bit early for eggs to already be laid.

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It seemed an immature bird to me, feathers not finished, not sure if fledged yet, which is why I used "chick"... let me know if this is an inaccurate term. We did see anhingas that were not yet fledged, one sitting on eggs not yet hatched according to shark Valley naturalist. Thanks so much for your thoughtful replies, they are greatly appreciated. The black beak and yellow legs just didn't fit the blue heron, but from sub adult to adult there can be quite a few changes. Thanks, Maxine

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This bird is a Black-crowned Night Heron, not a blue heron. It fledged last year, but since it takes two years for them to get their full adult plumage, it looks a little weird still. A juvenile or fledgling would be more streaked below. Think of this guy as a teenager. It's likely just chose the nest as a convenient place to perch, but as breeding can occur nearly year round in Florida, it could also be scoping out the nest.

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darknight , could this heron breed this year, or would it wait another year when in full adult plumage?

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I don't know about herons, but some birds are perfectly capable of breeding before reaching adult plumage. Bald Eagles and Scarlet Tanagers, for example. The usual explanation for their delayed plumage maturation is that while a younger bird is capable of breeding, they're unlikely to succeed, and wearing adult plumage means getting harassed by any nearby adults. At least with eagles, if there aren't any nearby adults, sometimes young birds will establish a territory and attempt to breed.

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psweet is right. For herons, I think it would depend if there are any females nearby willing to have him. If there is an abundance of food, or a shortage of other males, I bet he'd be able to breed this year, but if competition was heavy, he'd probably lose out.

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Facinating, thanks so much! That plumage just doesn't match up to adult plumage, does it? This is the only night heron I saw, I didn't see any others at any of our other stops. n

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