Nycticorax is a genus of night herons. The name Nycticorax derives from the Greek for “night raven” and refers to the largely nocturnal feeding habits of this group of birds, and the croaking crow-like call of the best known species, the Black-crowned Night Heron. These are medium-sized herons which are migratory outside the tropical parts of their ranges.
Adults are short-necked and stout herons; they typically have a dark crown and back with the remainder of the body white or grey, and short legs. Young birds are brown, flecked with white and grey, and are quite similar to each other in the extant Nycticorax species. At least some of the extinct Mascarenes taxa appear to have retained this juvenile plumage in adult birds.
Night herons nest in colonies on platforms of sticks in a group of trees, or on the ground in protected locations such as islands or reedbeds. 3-8 eggs are laid.
They stand at the water's edge, and wait to ambush prey, mainly at night. They primarily eat small fish, crustaceans, frogs, aquatic insects, and small mammals. During the day they rest in trees or bushes.
In addition, the following taxa are known from fossil bones: