What kind of bird is this?
June 10, 2009 4:20 PM   Subscribe

What kind of bird is this? (photos: 1, 2)

There are a large group of birds that nest in the lot next to my work. They are extremely aggressive and frequently kill each other (leaving their carcasses to rot in the disused lot). They nest in the very tops of these Eucalyptus trees and appear to have very little fear of humans. I've never noticed these birds anywhere other than this relatively small area. Any ideas?

The photos were taken in Long Beach, CA.
posted by basicchannel to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
Black-crowned Night-Heron.
posted by Mountain Goatse at 4:23 PM on June 10, 2009

yep, that's what they are. They're fairly common in areas with access to water. Don't know about the killing, though - I've never noticed that in colonies I'm familiar with.
posted by rtha at 4:27 PM on June 10, 2009

That is a black-crowned night heron, Mountain Goatse already said, but I'm saying it again because I'm so damn proud that I know it.

I watched one hunting squid in a marina once. Very cool.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:27 PM on June 10, 2009

Are you seeing them kill each other? I've seen lots of dead ones around areas that host lost and lots of their nests, but it's more a "babies not making it" sort of thing than a "fight to the death" sort of thing.
posted by Neofelis at 4:29 PM on June 10, 2009

Makes sense since the location is right on the water's edge. I imagine the aggression must come from competition/lack of resources?

You guys are awesome. Thank you!
posted by basicchannel at 4:30 PM on June 10, 2009

I have SEEN them fight. It was horrifying (their beaks are serious business when fighting).
posted by basicchannel at 4:31 PM on June 10, 2009

If it's a breeding colony - they are colonial nesters - they may well be fighting over territory and mates.
posted by rtha at 4:37 PM on June 10, 2009

How big are they? And how big are the squid they kill?

They are cool looking.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:44 PM on June 10, 2009

They are maybe jst shy of a foot and a half when lurking about, more like two feet when stretched out. They seem to have no problem with urban areas, I see them all the time in the evening, sitting on lampposts or on the grass around Lake Merritt.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:53 PM on June 10, 2009

That's interesting, that they fight like that. I'll have to keep my eyes open if they descend again this year.

Really pretty pictures, by the way.
posted by Neofelis at 7:02 PM on June 10, 2009

They are maybe jst shy of a foot and a half when lurking about,

I'm reminded of trolls when I see them.
posted by rtha at 7:59 PM on June 10, 2009

Great pictures! What camera did you use?
posted by exphysicist345 at 9:02 PM on June 10, 2009

Thanks! I used a Nikon D70 with a 200mm lens.
posted by basicchannel at 12:31 AM on June 11, 2009

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