Bittern

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bitterns
American Bittern Seney NWR 1.jpg
American bittern
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Ardeidae
Subfamily: Botaurinae
Genera

Bittern is a common name given to birds belonging to the subfamily Botaurinae of the heron family Ardeidae. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more secretive than other members of the 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 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[edit]

  1. ^ Joseph P. Pickett; et al., eds. (2000). "Bittern". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Archived from the original on 2005-01-16. Retrieved 2006-07-04.