Bill shorter than head, strong and broad ; neck short and thick ; on nape several long white tape-like feathers.
Nycticorax nycticorax nycticorax (L.). NIGHT HERON. Fr. Heron bihoreau ; Ger. Nachtreiher ; Ha/. Nitticora. d ? Crown, nape, scapulars, and back dark green ; foreneck, nuchal feathers, eyebrow, and abdomen white ; wings grey tinged brown. Bill black, greenish at base below. Facial skin greenish. Legs and feet yellow. Iris crimson. \Ving 281-305, ? 274-290. Tarsus 70-7S. Bill 65-76 (H.). Young : brown with tawny streaks and large white or buff spots on wings. Iris brown.
Legs and feet greenish yellow.
Breeds.—S. Europe from Spain and Portugal through S. France (Camargue) and Italy to Austria, Hungary, and Balkan Peninsula (not Greece, occasional Holland and Germany) ; S. Russia to about 52' N. east to Volga and Ural ; Caucasus ; also through Asia to Japan and in all Africa to Cape. Migratory in the north ; occurs rarely in N. and N.W. Europe, Canaries, and Azores. Casual in British Isles.