Bittern (Genera: Ixobrychus, Botaurus, Zebrilus) - Wiki
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[Photo] Ixobrychus exilis (Least Bittern, Petit blongios) from USFWS. Photo by: Deanne Endrizzi, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. License: public domain
Bitterns are a classification of wading birds in the heron family Ardeidae. Species named as bitterns tend to be the shorter necked, often more secretive members of this family. Called hæferblæte in Old English, the word bittern came to English from Old French butor, itself from Gallo-roman butitaurus, a portmanteau of latin Latin b??ti?? and taurus. Bitterns form a monophyletic subfamily in the heron family, the Botaurinae.
Bitterns usually frequent reedbeds 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:
Little Bittern, Ixobrychus minutus
New Zealand Little Bittern, Ixobrychus novaezelandiae (extinct)
Cinnamon Bittern, Ixobrychus cinnamomeus
Stripe-backed Bittern, Ixobrychus involucris
Least Bittern, Ixobrychus exilis
Yellow Bittern, Ixobrychus sinensis
Schrenck's Bittern, Ixobrychus eurhythmus
Dwarf Bittern, Ixobrychus sturmii
Black Bittern, Ixobrychus flavicollis
The genus Botaurus is the larger bitterns:
American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosa.
Great Bittern or European Bittern, Botaurus stellaris
South American Bittern, Botaurus pinnatus
Australasian Bittern, Botaurus poiciloptilus
Botaurus hibbardi (fossil)
The genus Zebrilus includes only one species:
Zigzag Heron (or properly Zigzag Bittern), Zebrilus undulatus
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