Rufescent tiger heron

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rufescent tiger heron
Rufescent tiger heron (Tigrisoma lineatum).JPG
in the Pantanal, Brazil
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Ardeidae
Genus: Tigrisoma
T. lineatum
Binomial name
Tigrisoma lineatum
(Boddaert, 1783)
Tigrisoma lineatum map.svg

The rufescent tiger heron (Tigrisoma lineatum) is a species of heron in the family Ardeidae. It is found in wetlands from Central America through much of South America.

Juvenile - Sacha Lodge - Ecuador


When he first described the rufescent tiger heron in 1783, based on a specimen collected in Cayenne, French Guiana, Pieter Boddaert named it Ardea lineata.[2] In 1827, William John Swainson moved the species to his newly created genus Tigrisoma; it is now one of three species in that genus.[3] The rufescent tiger heron has two subspecies:

  • T. l. lineatum, given species status by some taxonomists as lineated tiger heron, is found from Central America down into northern and central South America.[4]
  • T. l. marmoratum, given species status by some taxonomists as banded tiger heron, is found in eastern and south-central South America.[4]

The genus name Tigrisoma is a combination of two Greek words: tigris, meaning "tiger" and somā, meaning "body".[5]


The rufescent tiger heron is a medium-sized heron, measuring 26–30 in (66–76 cm) in length,[nb 1][7] with a mass between 630 and 980 g (22 and 35 oz).[8] The sexes are similarly plumaged.[9] The adult's head, neck and chest are dark rufous, with a white stripe down the center of the foreneck. The remainder of its upperparts are brownish with fine black vermiculations, its belly and vent are buffy-brown, and its flanks are barred black and white.[10] Its tail is black, narrowly barred with white.[11] Its stout bill is yellowish to dusky, and its legs are dull green.[10] Its irides, loral skin and orbital ring are bright yellow.[11] Unlike other tiger herons, it has no powder down feathers on its back.[9]

The juvenile bird is rusty-buff overall, coarsely barred with black; the buff and black banding on its wings is especially pronounced. Its throat, central chest and belly are white. It takes some five years to acquire adult plumage.[10]

Similar species[edit]

The adult rufescent tiger heron is relatively easy to distinguish from fasciated and bare-throated tiger herons, as it is rufous (rather than primarily gray) on the head and neck. Young birds, however, are much more difficult to identify.[7]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The rufescent tiger heron is found in wetlands from Central America through much of South America.[10] It generally occurs below 500 m (1,600 ft), though it has been recorded as high as 1,600 m (5,200 ft) in Colombia.[7]


It is largely crepuscular and generally solitary.[7][11]

Food and feeding[edit]

As might be expected of a species that spends most of its time by the water, much of the rufescent tiger heron's diet is aquatic-based, including fish, crustaceans, water beetles and dragonfly larvae. It also takes adult dragonflies and grasshoppers.[9] It typically hunts alone, standing hunched in shallow pools or wet areas of forest while it waits for prey.[7]


The rufescent tiger heron's main call is a low-pitched paired hoot, often given at night.[10] It also gives a fast series of sharp wok notes, which decrease in volume and speed, and a prolonged hoot, transcribed as ooooooo-ooh which rises markedly at the end.[7]



Although the rufescent tiger heron's population size and trend has not been quantified, its range is huge, so the International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists it as a species of least concern.[1]


  1. ^ By convention, length is measured from the tip of the bill to the tip of the tail on a dead bird (or skin) laid on its back.[6]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Tigrisoma lineatum". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Rufescent Tiger Heron". Handbook of Birds of the World Alive. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  3. ^ "ITIS Report: Tigrisoma". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b Monroe Jr., Burt L.; Sibley, Charles G. (1997). A World Checklist of Birds. New Haven, CT, US: Yale University Press. p. 130.
  5. ^ Jobling (2010), p. 386.
  6. ^ Cramp, Stanley, ed. (1977). Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: Birds of the Western Palearctic, Volume 1, Ostrich to Ducks. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-19-857358-6.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Hilty, Steven L.; Brown, William L. (1986). A Guide to the Birds of Colombia. Princeton, NJ, US: Princeton University Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-691-08372-8.
  8. ^ Dunning Jr., John B. (2008). CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL, US: CRC Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-4200-6445-2.
  9. ^ a b c Hancock, James; Kushlan, James A. (2010). The Herons Handbook. London, UK: A&C Black. ISBN 978-1-4081-3496-2.
  10. ^ a b c d e Ridgely, Robert S. (1989). A Guide to the Birds of Panama: With Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Princeton, NJ, US: Princeton University Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-691-08529-6.
  11. ^ a b c Kenefick, Martyn; Restall, Robin; Iayes, Floyd (2007). Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). London, UK: Christopher Helm. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-4081-5209-6.

Cited texts[edit]

  • Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Names. London, UK: Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.

External links[edit]