Bittern

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

Bitterns are a classification of birds in the heron family, Ardeidae, a family 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 portmanteau 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 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., ed. (2000). "Bittern". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed. ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Retrieved 2006-07-04.