Botaurus is a genus of bitterns, a group of wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae. The genus name Botaurus was given by the English naturalist James Francis Stephens, and is derived from Medieval Latin butaurus, "bittern", itself constructed from the Middle English name for the Eurasian Bittern, Botor.[1] Pliny gave a fanciful derivation from Bos (ox) and taurus (bull), because the bittern's call resembles the bellowing of a bull.[2]

The genus has a single representative species in each of North, Central and South America, Eurasia, and Australasia. The two northern species are partially migratory, with many birds moving south to warmer areas in winter.

The four Botaurus bitterns are all large chunky, heavily streaked brown birds which breed in large reed beds. Almost uniquely for predatory birds, the female rears the young alone.[3] They are secretive and well-camouflaged, and despite their size they can be difficult to observe except for occasional flight views.

Like other bitterns, they eat fish, frogs, and similar aquatic life.

Botaurus lentiginosus 28079
American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Ardeidae
Subfamily: Botaurinae
Genus: Botaurus
Stephens, 1819

B. lentiginosa
B. stellaris
B. pinnatus
B. poiciloptilus



  1. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 75, 365. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  2. ^ "Bittern (1)". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 16 May 2016.(subscription required)
  3. ^ Sibly, Richard M.; Christopher C. Witt; Natalie A. Wright; Chris Venditti; Walter Jetz; James H. Brown (2012). "Energetics, lifestyle, and reproduction in birds" (abstract). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109: 10937–10941. doi:10.1073/pnas.1206512109. PMC 3390878. PMID 22615391.
American bittern

The American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) is a species of wading bird in the heron family. It has a Nearctic distribution, breeding in Canada and the northern and central parts of the United States, and wintering in the U.S. Gulf Coast states, all of Florida into the Everglades, the Caribbean islands and parts of Central America.

It is a well-camouflaged, solitary brown bird that unobtrusively inhabits marshes and the coarse vegetation at the edge of lakes and ponds. In the breeding season it is chiefly noticeable by the loud, booming call of the male. The nest is built just above the water, usually among bulrushes and cattails, where the female incubates the clutch of olive-colored eggs for about four weeks. The young leave the nest after two weeks and are fully fledged at six or seven weeks.

The American bittern feeds mostly on fish but also eats other small vertebrates as well as crustaceans and insects. It is fairly common over its wide range, but its numbers are thought to be decreasing, especially in the south, because of habitat degradation. However the total population is large, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "Least Concern".

Australasian bittern

The Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus), also known as the brown bittern or matuku hūrepo, is a large bird in the heron family Ardeidae. A secretive bird with a distinctive booming call, it is more often heard than seen. Australasian bitterns are endangered in both Australia and New Zealand.


Bitterns are 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..

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:

Little bittern, Ixobrychus minutus

Australian little bittern, Ixobrychus dubius

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 flavicollisThe genus Botaurus is the larger bitterns:

American bittern, Botaurus lentiginosa.

Eurasian bittern or great 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


This article refers to the percussive instrument. For the Philippine party-list group, see Buhay Hayaan Yumabong

The buhay (Ukrainian: бугай) (also known as a bugai, buhai, berebenytsia, bika, buga, bochka) is a percussive that is used in Ukraine and is classified as a friction drum. Buhay is the Ukrainian word for great bittern (Botaurus stellaris), and its use as name of the instrument refers to the sound produced. The mating call or contact call of the male Buhay (Botaurus stellaris) is a deep, sighing fog-horn or bull-like boom with a quick rise and an only slightly longer fall, easily audible from a distance of 3 mi (4.8 km) on a calm night.

Hornbostel-Sachs classification number 232.11-92

The buhay consists of a conical barrel (sometimes a wooden bucket). At one end a sheep membrane is stretched with a hole in this skin's center. Through this hole a tuft of horse hair with a knot at one end is passed. Usually two performers are needed to operate the instrument, one to hold the instrument, the other to pull the horsehair with moistened fingers. In recent times versions of the buhay have been made which are held in position by the players feet allowing one player to play the instrument. These instruments can be played successfully by one player without assistance. Five to six different sounds can be obtained from the instrument, depending on the skill of the player.

The buhay plays an important part in New Years and Christmas rituals.

It is used in works by the Ukrainian folk instruments orchestra.

The buhay and local variants is common to Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Lithuania.

The buhay has been used as a leading instrument in the title track on the album "Vidlik" by the Ukrainian electronic experimental music band ONUKA. It is also used as a leading instrument in the "Boogaj Boogie" song by Ukrainian neofolk rock ethnofussion gospel band "Voanerges".

Cefa Natural Park

The Cefa Natural Park (Romanian: Parcul Natural Cefa) is a protected area (natural park category V IUCN) situated in Romania, on the administrative territory of Bihor County.

Eurasian bittern

The Eurasian bittern or great bittern (Botaurus stellaris) is a wading bird in the bittern subfamily (Botaurinae) of the heron family Ardeidae. There are two subspecies, the northern race (B. s. stellaris) breeding in parts of Europe and Asia, as well as on the northern coast of Africa, while the southern race (B. s. capensis) is endemic to parts of southern Africa. It is a secretive bird, seldom seen in the open as it prefers to skulk in reed beds and thick vegetation near water bodies. Its presence is apparent in the spring, when the booming call of the male during the breeding season can be heard. It feeds on fish, small mammals, fledgling birds, amphibians, crustaceans and insects.

The nest is usually built among reeds at the edge of bodies of water. The female incubates the clutch of eggs and feeds the young chicks, which leave the nest when about two weeks old. She continues to care for them until they are fully fledged some six weeks later.

With its specific habitat requirements and the general reduction in wetlands across its range, the population is thought to be in decline globally. However the decline is slow, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its overall conservation status as being of "least concern". Nevertheless, some local populations are at risk and the population of the southern race has declined more dramatically and is cause for concern. In the United Kingdom it is one of the most threatened of all bird species.


The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae, with 64 recognised species, some of which are referred to as egrets or bitterns rather than herons. Members of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus are referred to as bitterns, and, together with the zigzag heron, or zigzag bittern, in the monotypic genus Zebrilus, form a monophyletic group within the Ardeidae. Egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white or have decorative plumes in breeding plumage. Herons, by evolutionary adaptation, have long beaks.

The classification of the individual heron/egret species is fraught with difficulty, and no clear consensus exists about the correct placement of many species into either of the two major genera, Ardea and Egretta. Similarly, the relationships of the genera in the family are not completely resolved. However, one species formerly considered to constitute a separate monotypic family, the Cochlearidae or the boat-billed heron, is now regarded as a member of the Ardeidae.

Although herons resemble birds in some other families, such as the storks, ibises, spoonbills, and cranes, they differ from these in flying with their necks retracted, not outstretched. They are also one of the bird groups that have powder down. Some members of this group nest colonially in trees, while others, notably the bitterns, use reed beds.


Ixobrychus is a genus of bitterns, a group of wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae. Ixobrychus is from Ancient Greek ixias, a reed-like plant and brukhomai, to bellow.It has a single representative species in each of North America, South America, Eurasia, and Australasia. The tropical species are largely resident, but the two northern species are partially migratory, with many birds moving south to warmer areas in winter.

The Ixobrychus bitterns are all small species, with their four larger relatives being in the genus Botaurus. They breed in large reedbeds, and can often be difficult to observe except for occasional flight views due to their secretive behaviour. Like other bitterns, they eat fish, frogs, and similar aquatic life.

Krokų Lanka

Krokų Lanka is the only lake of marine origin in Lithuania and the largest lake in the Šilutė District Municipality. It is located in the Nemunas Delta Regional Park on the Baltic Sea shore near Nemunas Delta and Ventė Cape. It covers a territory of 788 ha. Aukštumala bog, covering 3018 ha and used for peat production since 1882, is located just north of the lake and Mingė village is located on the western bank. In the south a narrow strip of water connects the lake with Atmata, a branch of the Neman River.

Krokų Lanka was created when alluvial deposits from the Neman River separated a part of the Curonian Lagoon. The lake is very shallow, with greatest depth of only 2.5 meters, and overgrown with water plants. It is poised to eventually turn into a bog but now it is a paradise for a variety of water birds, including Eurasian bittern (Botaurus stellaris), greylag goose (Anser anser), Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus), black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata). In spring and fall the lake attracts large groups of migratory birds. Krokų Lanka is also important area for spawning fishes. To protect this environment botanical and zoological reserve, covering 1214 ha, was established in 1992.

Least bittern

The least bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) is a small heron, the smallest member of the family Ardeidae found in the Americas.

List of Ciconiiformes by population

This is a list of Ciconiiformes species by global population. While numbers are estimates, they have been made by the experts in their fields. For more information on how these estimates were ascertained, see Wikipedia's articles on population biology and population ecology.

This list is incomprehensive, as not all Ciconiiformes have had their numbers quantified. The classification of this order of birds is currently in flux; the classification for this list is aligned with the IUCN's current position, but may change in the future.

Furthermore, some species currently listed below are no longer considered Ciconiformes; they have been reclassified under Pelecaniformes (e.g. the Black-crowned night heron, listed below). Click the species page for a more definitive classification.

List of birds of Mont-Tremblant National Park

This lists the species of birds in Mont-Tremblant National Park in Quebec, Canada. The bolded species indicate that they are threatened in the area.

List of birds of North America (Pelecaniformes)

The birds listed below all belong to the biological order Pelecaniformes, and are native to North America.

List of heron species

The International Ornithological Congress (IOC) recognizes these 72 species of herons, egrets, and bitterns in the family Ardeidae. They are distributed among 18 genera, some of which have only one species.


Phragmites is a genus of four species of large perennial grasses found in wetlands throughout temperate and tropical regions of the world. The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, maintained by Kew Garden in London, accepts the following four species:

Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. – cosmopolitan

Phragmites japonicus Steud. – Japan, Korea, Ryukyu Islands, Russian Far East

Phragmites karka (Retz.) Trin. ex Steud. – tropical Africa, southern Asia, Australia, some Pacific Islands

Phragmites mauritianus Kunth – central + southern Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius

Pinnated bittern

The pinnated bittern (Botaurus pinnatus), also known as the South American bittern, is a large member of the heron family (Ardeidae) found in the New World tropics. Like the other Botaurus bitterns, its plumage is mostly buffy-brown and cryptically patterned. Though it is a widespread species, it is rarely seen – presumably due to its skulking habits – and much about its life history remains little known.

Sibley-Monroe checklist 9

The Sibley-Monroe checklist was a landmark document in the study of birds. It drew on extensive DNA-DNA hybridisation studies to reassess the relationships between modern birds.

Waipu Lagoons

The Waipu Lagoons is a series of small coastal lagoons near the city of New Plymouth in the Taranaki Region of New Zealand. They consist of three lakelets with a combined surface area of about 2 hectares (4.9 acres), located 0.5 kilometres (0.31 mi) from the Tasman Sea, immediately to the east of Bell Block. The lagoons plus surrounding wetlands totalling 7.9 hectares (20 acres) are a local purpose conservation reserve owned by the New Plymouth District Council.Bird species found at the reserve include:

Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus) – endangered

Australian coot (Fulica atra australis)

Grey teal (Anus gracilis)

Pukeko (Porphyrio porphyrio)Raupo (Typha orientalis), flax (Phormium tenax), and bamboo spike-sedge (Eleocharis sphacelata) are the principal plant species.

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