Thursday, 17 October 2013

120. Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Black-crowned Night Herons (or just plain Night Herons) are my favourite herons, I like their short chunky stature and suave combination of glossy black and pale grey plumage with a lovely deep red eye! They are very widely distributed, occurring on all continents except Australia and Antarctica. In Europe, their breeding range is mostly around the Mediterranean but also into France and parts of central and eastern Europe, and they winter in Africa. They can turn up in the UK as vagrants and I think there may be one or two feral populations in the UK. Although they are mainly active at night, they can also been seen in the day; their preferred habitat is marshes, lake and river margins and swamps, with freshwater, brackish or saline water, and trees to roost in. The adult is illustrated; the juvenile looks similar in its second year, but is less strongly marked, being grey-brown with a streaked breast; in its first year it is brown with white speckles.

Black-crowned Night Heron, ©whifflepeg, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Black-crowned Night Heron painting.

More watercolours.....I spent some time on this getting really into the colours, especially the iridescent black feathers, love a bit of iridescence. I didn't have time to finish the feet properly though. Must admit I added the eye light in with white acrylic paint afterwards, naughty, as I forgot to leave it white when filling in the red!

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