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Bitterns
File:American Bittern Seney NWR 1.png
American Bittern
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Aequorlitornithes
Clade: Ardeae
Clade: Aequornithes
Family: Ardeidae
Subfamily: Botaurinae
Genera

Bitterns are a classification of birds in the heron family of Pelican order of wading birds. Species named bitterns tend to be the shorter-necked, often more secretive members of this family. They were called hæferblæte in Old English; the word "bittern" came to English from Old French butor, itself from Gallo-Roman butitaurus, a compound of Latin būtiō and taurus.[1] Bitterns form a monophyletic subfamily in the heron family, the Botaurinae.

Bitterns usually frequent reed beds and similar marshy areas, and feed on amphibians, reptiles, insects, and fish.

Unlike the similar storks, ibises, and spoonbills, herons, egrets, pelicans, and bitterns fly with their necks retracted, not outstretched.

The genus Ixobrychus contains mainly small species:

The genus Botaurus is the larger bitterns:

The genus Zebrilus includes only one species:

  • Zigzag Heron (or properly Zigzag Bittern), Zebrilus undulatus

Notes

  1. ^ Joseph P. Pickett, ed (2000). "Bittern". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. http://www.bartleby.com/61/77/B0287700.html. Retrieved 2006-07-04. 
Wrybill This article is part of Project Bird Subfamilies, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each bird subfamily, including made-up families.
Hemipus picatus This article is part of Project Bird Taxonomy, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on every order, family and other taxonomic rank related to birds.
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