Family Herons (Ardeidae)

Least Concern

Pinnated Bittern (Botaurus pinnatus)


French: Butor mirasol German: Südamerikanische Rohrdommel Spanish: Avetoro mirasol
Other common names: South American Bittern

Ardea pinnata


, 1829,

Bahia, Brazil


Apparently most closely related to B. lentiginosus. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. p. caribaeus Dickerman, 1961 – E Mexico (Veracruz to Quintana Roo) and Belize.
  • B. p. pinnatus (Wagler, 1829) – El Salvador and SE Nicaragua to W Costa Rica; SW Colombia and W Ecuador E to Trinidad and the Guianas; S Brazil to Paraguay, NE Argentina and Uruguay. Recorded also in Bolivia#R and throughout Brazil but its status unclear.
  • Descriptive notes

    63·5–76 cm; 584 g. Limited overlap with B. lentiginosus, but separated from latter by black-barred (not uniform buff) crown, rufous-buff (not greyish-... read more


    Has booming, far-carrying song typical of large bitterns, used in territory defence and... read more


    Shallow freshwater swamps and marshes with stands of tall, dense vegetation, including rushes (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Little known. Fish (including eels), frogs (Pseudis), snakes (Ophis), rodents and insects (dragonflies and bugs). Largely... read more


    Very little known. Jul–Oct on Trinidad and possibly Colombian Andes; May in Mexico; Jul in Costa Rica; Dec in Paraguay; Nov, Jan... read more


    Little known. Appears fairly sedentary on Trinidad and in Costa Rica, where recorded in off season... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Apparently rare or uncommon; rarely seen, due to secretive nature, and might be commoner than thought. Range now shown to be more... read more

    Recommended citation

    Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Pinnated Bittern (Botaurus pinnatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 March 2020).