“N” is for Night Heron! Specifically Black-crowned Night Heron.
Breeding on every continent except Australia and Antarctica, the Black-crowned Night-Heron is the second most widespread heron in North America. A medium-sized, stocky, rather short-necked heron with black crown and back, gray wings, and white underparts. Bill short and black, legs pinkish or yellowish. In breeding season it has 2 or more long white plumes on back of head. Young birds are dull gray-brown lightly spotted with white. Young Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are grayer, with stouter bills and longer legs.
As its name implies, this noisy bird is largely nocturnal, beginning to forage at dusk, when other herons are on their way to roosts. Night-herons are less likely to nest in mixed colonies than other herons; when they do, they often keep to themselves in a separate corner. These birds are sluggish hunters, standing quietly for long periods of time waiting for a frog or fish to pass by. They also plunder the nests of other herons and make regular nighttime visits to colonies of terns or Franklin’s Gulls, where they sometimes take large numbers of chicks.
Below is an image of a Night Heron I captured recently on a trip to Brookgreen Gardens.
Click on image for larger view: