Family Sunbittern (Eurypygidae)

Least Concern

Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias)


Taxonomy

French: Caurale soleil German: Sonnenralle Spanish: Tigana
Taxonomy:

Ardea helias

Pallas

, 1781,

north-eastern Amazonian Brazil

.

Some morphological and behavioural affinities with Rhynochetidae and Rostratulidae respectively. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. h. major Hartlaub, 1844 – Northern Sunbittern – Guatemala to W Ecuador; possibly also S Mexico.
  • E. h. meridionalis Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1902 – Foothill Sunbittern – SC Peru (Junín and Cuzco).
  • E. h. helias (Pallas, 1781) – Amazonian Sunbittern – Colombia, Venezuela and the Guianas S through Amazonia to E Bolivia and C Brazil.
  • Descriptive notes

    43–48 cm; 188·5–295 g. Unmistakable. Cryptically coloured, with straight bill, slender neck and long tail; two white lines cross blackish head; upperparts... read more

    Voice

    Large number of vocalizations, mainly trills (either ascending or descending, long or short, harsh... read more

    Habitat

    Humid forests with open understorey, near water, in form of stream, river, pond or lagoon; from... read more

    Food and feeding

    Many aquatic organisms, both invertebrate and vertebrate, including flies, moths, spiders, dragonflies, beetles, cockroaches, katydids,... read more

    Breeding

    Nests at beginning of rainy season, when mud available to enable nest construction; late Mar in Costa Rica, early May–early Aug in... read more

    Movements

    Sedentary. Short displacements may occur in highly seasonal habitats where water dries up, birds... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Status poorly known, due to inconspicuous nature; no figures available for overall numbers or densities. Species widespread, but... read more

    Recommended citation

    Thomas, B.T. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/53709 on 19 October 2018).