They breed across most of the U.S. and southern Canada, down to South America. They spend the winter from southern U. S. south. They are also in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
They live in marshes, swamps, by streams, lakes, and in farm fields.
They are only about 21 inches tall. They have red eyes and a white crown that is yellow toward the front. They are blue-grey over all, with the feathers on their back darker in the center with a light border. They have a black face with a white cheek patch.
They grab prey with beak, not stab it.
They eat fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, and rodents.
They build a platform nest of sticks in a tree or some cattails. They nest in groups -- sometimes many nests in the same tree. The female lays 1-7 green eggs.
Species: N. violacea
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