HomeExploreExhibits & AnimalsCypress Creek Aviary

Cypress Creek Aviary

Located behind the aquarium this 35-foot-high enclosure, houses passerine and wading birds indigenous to the Flint River basin. Since the Albany area is in a major flyway, several migratory birds are also featured in the aviary. The RiverQuarium is working closely with wildlife rehabilitators and animal rescue groups to obtain non-releasable birds. These animals will feel right at home among the bald cypress, Southern magnolia, sweetbay, wax myrtle, bluestem palmetto, cinnamon fern, Carolina jasmine and trumpet honeysuckle planted to create the native environment.


Great Egret

The Great Egret is a large wading bird with pure white plumage. It is one of the largest wading birds in North America, reaching a wingspan of 51 inches. It can reach one meter in height and weigh up to 2 lbs. The Great Egret can be distinguished from other white egrets by its black legs and feet as well as its yellow bill. It flies with its neck pulled back in an S-curve.  It is widely distributed and occurs in most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world. It is rather localized in Southern Europe. However, it is ubiquitous across the Sun Belt of the United States, the rainforests of South America, and throughout the central region of Africa.  It feeds on just about anything live that it can get down its throat. Typically this would include small fish, frogs (and other amphibians), snakes, lizards, mice, and insects.


Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Herons can reach lengths of 24 inches. They live in ponds, marshes, swamps and shores and eat fish, crustaceans and insects. Their range consists of the eastern portion of the United States, mostly southern parts of Central America, coastal Mexico, northern South America into central South America and the Caribbean.  No other species of heron has such a drastic color change from white when it is young to bluish with a maroon neck as an adult. Habitat loss has resulted in a decline in this species.


Black Crowned Night Heron

The Black-crowned Night-Heron has a black crown and back with the remainder of the body white or grey with red eyes and short yellow legs. Immature birds are brown, flecked with white and grey. These are short-necked and stout birds.  The Black-crowned Night-Heron has the widest range of any heron in the world. In fact, its range spreads over five continents. This heron is found in most of the states of North America.  The Black-crowned Night-Heron is a wading bird and a nocturnal predator. This habit of feeding at dusk and night gives it a competitive edge over other herons that feed only during the day. This heron feeds on a variety of animals found along the shoreline, including small fishes, amphibians, crustaceans, mammals and larger insects.


Yellow Crowned Night Heron

The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is a nocturnal wading bird that occurs in and near the waters of the southern United States.  Adults grow to 70 cm long and may attain a weight of 1.5 pounds. They have a white crown with a yellow plume and black head stripes below the crown area.  This heron feeds at night on a variety of animals found along the shoreline, including small fishes, amphibians, crustaceans, mammals, and larger insects. In addition, it may eat eels, mussels, and small snakes. The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron may be found in the marshes and swamps of the north eastern United States to the northern part of South America. In warmer climates this animal is a year round resident. In cooler climates it's found migrating or breeding.


Green Heron

A solitary and secretive bird, the Green Heron is stocky, dark colored, and small for a heron. The adult Green Heron has a dark ruffle neck, gray belly and dark, iridescent, greenish-blue back. The upper mandible of the bill is dark and the legs are bright orange. Green Herons inhabit small, freshwater wetlands, ponds, and stream-sides with thick vegetation at their margins. In winter, they frequent coastal areas and mangrove swamps. The solitary Green Heron usually forages from a perch, where it stands with its body lowered and stretched out horizontally, ready to thrust its bill at unsuspecting prey. One of the few birds known to use tools, the Green Heron will attract prey with bait that it drops into the water. When out in the open, it commonly flicks its tail nervously and raises and lowers its crest. Fish are the primary food of this opportunistic feeder. Crayfish and other crustaceans are also a source of food, as are aquatic insects, frogs, grasshoppers, snakes and rodents.


Double Crested Cormorant

The Double-crested Cormorant is a large water bird that inhabits waterways and coastal areas in North America from Alaska to Florida and Mexico and the Bahamas. This species of cormorant got its name from the small double crest of black and white feathers over each eye that it reveals during the breeding season. Otherwise, it is all black with a patch of orange-yellow facial skin.  The Double-crested Cormorant is easily distinguishable from other water birds by its hunting and feeding habits. It swims low in the water usually with just its neck and head visible. Then it dives under the surface to catch its prey. Using its webbed feet for propulsion, it is able to dive 5 to 25 feet in 30 to 70 seconds. Since its feathers are not entirely waterproof, the Double-crested Cormorant stands for long periods of time with its wings outstretched to dry.


Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is a territorial songbird with a body length of 21 centimeters. It can be found over most of the U.S., Mexico and Central America. They are mainly granivorous, but sometimes feed on insects and fruits. They will also consume the flowers and bark of elm trees and drink the sap from certain species of woodpecker's insect burrowing holes. Its natural habitat is woodlands, gardens, shrub lands, and swamps.  Cardinals are non-migratory birds that are attracted to birdhouses and feeders especially those with a great supply of food. When the female cardinal sings from the nest, it may be a sign to the male that she is in need of food. The male cardinal will feed the female seeds as part of the mating ritual. The Northern Cardinal is the state bird of 7 different states.


Blue Jay

Blue Jays are Passerine (or perching) birds that are found throughout the eastern and central United States and southern Canada. They are mostly blue, with a white breast and a blue crest. They have a U – shaped collar around the neck and a black border behind the crest. Jays will feed mostly on nuts and seeds, as well as insects and other arthropods. When breeding, the Blue Jay will build an open cup nest in the branches of a tree. A clutch can consist of two to seven eggs. The young require nourishment from the parents and the female broods the nest eight to ten days after hatching. The baby Blue jays remain with their parents one to two months after leaving the nest.


Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhites can reach lengths of 8-10 inches. They live in open to brushy farm and grasslands. Their diet consists mainly of insects, spiders, seeds, buds and berries. They range from the central to eastern part of the United States extending down into Guatemala and the Caribbean. Their range also includes portions of Washington and Oregon.  This animal is a very popular, extensively hunted game bird also called "bobwhite quail." It is the official game bird of Georgia, Tennessee and Washington. When threatened, these birds prefer to run from danger. A covey (group) of Northern Bobwhites will sometimes huddle together for warmth and protection facing outward.


Mourning Dove

This is a 12 inch dove that lives in open forests and edges, roadsides, farms and urban areas. Their diet consists of seeds and grains; the young eat a cottage cheese-like crop milk called "pigeon's milk" that is regurgitated from the adult. They range from the southern part of Canada, the United States, Mexico, to Central America and the Caribbean.  This bird is hunted throughout most of its range. It is the most abundant and widespread of all the game birds in North America. When building a nest, the male will collect the materials. When he arrives at the nest with materials, he will stand on the female's back and give them to her, so that she can construct it. They often build more than one nest. Then she will choose which one she prefers. Both male and female sit on the eggs and share incubating duties. This bird can fly at speeds of 55 mph. This bird's call sounds like it is mourning, hence its name.


White Ibis

The White Ibis is found mainly from the mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast of the United States south through most of the New World tropics. It is a medium-sized bird with an overall white plumage, bright red-orange bill and long legs. It has black wing tips that are usually only visible in flight. Males are longer in size and have longer bills than females. There diet consists primarily of small aquatic prey such as small fish, crustaceans and insects which tend to be their favorite. The White Ibis will put its deeply decurved, pointed bill in loose soil to probe for prey. This species often grunts as it feeds.


Canada Goose

Canada Geese are very large geese that reach lengths of up to 43 inches with a wingspan of 50-67 inches. Their habitat includes lakes, ponds, bays, marshes, fields, golf courses and parks. Their diet consists of aquatic plant matter if they are found in water. On land, they prefer grasses, seeds, grains, corn, beans, wheat and rice. They are found in much of Canada, the United States and northern parts of Mexico.


Northern Flicker

Northern Flickers can grow to be 12.5 inches in length. They are a member of the Woodpecker family. You can find flickers in open habitats near trees, including woodlands, edges, yards, and parks. They eat fruit, berries, seeds and insects, especially ants and beetles. This particular woodpecker species prefers to feed on the ground.  Northern Flickers drum on objects as a form of communication and territory defense. When they fly you'll see a flash of color in the wings – yellow if you're in the eastern part of the U.S., red if you're in the western part – and a bright white flash on the rump.


Black Bellied Whistling Duck

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is native to the southeastern United States and down to Central America and central South America. This duck is considered a tree duck and one of the only species in the U.S. that nest in tree cavities. They can grow up to 22 inches with a wingspan of 30 inches. These ducks have a very unusual appearance with long pink to orange legs and a long neck. Their omnivorous diet consists of plant matter such as seeds, insects and mollusks.


American Coot

The body of the American Coot is about 16 inches in length. Its coloration is grayish with its head darker than the rest of the body; it has a white bill with a reddish brown spot near the top of the bill. Coots also have yellow legs.
Coots are omnivorous, eating a variety of vegetation as well as crustaceans, mollusks, worms, and fish.


Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons are large wading birds that inhabit North, Central, and South America, the West Indies, and Galapagos Islands. Sometimes, though rarely, they will show up in various areas of Europe as well. The Great Blue Heron always lives close to bodies of water. They may inhabit fresh and salt water marshes, and shorelines of lakes, rivers, oceans and streams.  The Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America and can grow 3 – 4.5 ft in height. Its wingspan can grow to over 6 ft wide. Its coloring is a light blue gray, with red-brown thighs; the neck is rusty gray with black streaking up the front. Its head is lighter with a white face and black plumes running from above the eyes to the back of the head. Its bill is grayish – yellow in color.


Black-Bellied Plover

Black-bellied Plovers nest and reproduce in the arctic and northern regions of North America. They migrate to the coasts for winter and have nearly worldwide distribution. The medium size birds are carnivorous, feasting on crustaceans, insects and small mollusks while wintering on the coast.  Plovers do not reach breeding age until about 2 years old and stay near their winter beaches until that age. As nesting pairs the males and females work together to build their nest and tend their young.


Cattle Egret

The Cattle Egret is a species of heron found in the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate zones. Originally native to parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, it has undergone rapid expansion and successfully colonized the rest of the world. The Cattle Egret is a stocky heron with a 35-38 inch wingspan; it is normally 18-22 inches long and weigh nine-18 ounces.  The adult Cattle Egret has few predators; however, birds or mammals may raid its nests for food, and chicks may be lost to starvation, calcium deficiency or disturbances from other large birds.


Wood Duck

Wood Ducks can grow to 17-20 inches. Their diet consists of berries, seeds, aquatic insects, snails, acorns, aquatic plant matter, tadpoles, fish and crustaceans. They can be found in river, wooded swamp, pond, shallow lakes and marsh habitats. They range from parts of southern Canada to much of the United States down into Mexico and the Caribbean.  Wood Ducks usually nest in a tree cavity that is 20-50' in the air not necessarily over water. When the young are ready to come out of the nest, they will leap out of the nest, falling to the ground and then bounce onto the ground like a tennis ball. Fortunately, they are well adapted to withstand such a fall without injury. Some may jump from a height of almost 300' without injury to themselves.


Hooded Merganser

This duck grows 16-19 inches. It typically lives in swamps, wooded lakes and ponds, rivers and tidal marshes. It is a fish, aquatic insect and crustacean eater. They range from the western and southern portions of Canada into the United States - mostly eastern half.  Birds don't have teeth, but mergansers have serrated bills. This allows the birds to catch prey. They can change the refractive properties of their eyes underwater to increase their sight capabilities, so they are able to pinpoint the exact location of prey.


Blue Winged Teal

The word "teal" is applied to small ducks, and the Blue-winged Teals are some of the smallest ducks in the southeastern U.S. They have a length of 15-16 inches. Their habitat is freshwater ponds, but they prefer muddy flats. Their diet consists of aquatic plants, insects and mollusks. Their range includes much of North America.  These ducks are some of the earliest to migrate south in the fall and latest to migrate north in the spring. They will travel very long distances. Some will migrate from Canada into South America.