US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



Published in THE PRAIRIE NATURALIST 9 (1977) p. 31-32


Yellow-crowned night herons (Nyctanassa violacea) sighted at four locations in North Dakota during 1976 appear to be the first observations of this species for the State. We sighted a single individual about 8 km south of Medina, North Dakota in western Stutsman County during several visits in June and July 1976. The bird was first seen on 23 June standing in a pasture adjoining an 8.5 ha semi-permanent marsh. On following visits, the heron usually was seen perched in trees at the edge of the wetland. A single yellow-crowned night heron was sighted on the same wetland on three separate occasions in June 1977. It is not known whether this was the same individual that was seen in 1976. The wetland contains dense stands of cattail (Typha spp.), hardstem bulrush (Scirpus acutus), and reed (Phragmites communis), and is bordered by open stands of cottonwood (Populus deltoides) and peach-leaved willow (Salix amygdaloides). Several black-crowned night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) also were observed at the marsh during 1976 and 1977. Herons may have been attracted to the wetland by the presence of large numbers of leopard frogs (Rana pipiens). No yellow-crowned night heron nests were found during nest searches of the wetland in 1976 and 1977.