American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of several nocturnal or crepuscular herons of the genus Nycticorax, especially the black-crowned heron, N. nycticorax.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A heron of crepuscular or somewhat nocturnal habits. There are several species, of most parts of the world, belonging to the family Ardeidæ, and genera Nyctiardea or Nycticorax and Nyetherodius. The common European bird to which the name night-heron (and also
night-raven) was originally applied is Ardea nycticorax of the older writers, now Nyctiardea nycticorax, N. gardeni. Nycticorax griseus, etc. The bird is 2 feet long and 44 inches in extent of wings; the crown and middle of the back are glossy blackish-green, and most other parts are bluish-gray with a lilac or lavender tinge, the forehead, throat-line, and under parts being whitish. Two or three very long white filamentous feathers spring from the back of the head; the eyes are red, the bill is black, and the lores and legs are greenish. The sexes are alike. The young are very different, being some shade of dingy brown or chocolate-brown, boldly spotted with white. Night-herons nest in heronries, sometimes of vast extent; they build a bulky frail nest of twigs, and lay 3 or 4 eggs of a pale-green color, 2 inches long by 1½ in breadth. The common night-heron of the United States is not specifically distinct from the foregoing; it is popularly called qua-birdand squawk, from its Cry. The night-herons of the genus Nyctherodius are quite different. N. violaceus is the yellow-crowned night-heron, common in the southern United States.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) any one of several species of herons of the genus Nycticorax, found in various parts of the world. The best known species is Nycticorax griseus, or Nycticorax nycticorax, of Europe, and the American variety (var. nævius). The yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea syn. Nycticorax violaceus) inhabits the Southern States.
- n. nocturnal or crepuscular herons
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