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(Nycticorax nycticorax ), a bird of the family Ardeidae (herons and bitterns), order Ciconiiformes. The body is 60 cm long. The color of the plumage is mainly black (with a metallic sheen), whitish, and gray. The night heron is found in southern Europe, Asia, and North America as well as Africa and South America. In the USSR it inhabits the southern part of the European USSR and Middle Asia; it migrates to Africa for the winter. The night heron keeps to the banks of rivers or the shores of ponds and lakes. It is active at night. It nests in colonies, usually on trees. There are four or five greenish eggs in a clutch; both parents brood for a period of 21–22 days. Night herons feed on fish, frogs, and small invertebrate animals.