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American Bittern

American Bittern
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Ciconiiformes
Family: Ardeidae
Genus: Botaurus
Species: lentiginosus
Binomial name
Botaurus lentiginosus

The American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus ) is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae.

It is a large (24"-34"), chunky, brown bird, very similar to the Eurasian Great Bittern, Botaurus stellaris.

Although common in its range, the American bittern is usually well-hidden in bogs, marshes and wet meadows. Usually solitary, it walks stealthily among cattails or bullrushes. If it senses that it has been seen, the American Bittern becomes motionless, with its bill pointed upward, causing it to blend into the reeds. It is most active at dusk. More often heard than seen, this bittern has a call that resembles a congested pump.

Like other members of the heron family, the American Bittern feeds in marshes and shallow ponds, dining on amphibians, fish, insects and reptiles.

This bittern winters in the southern United States and Central America. It summers as far north as Canada. As a long-distance migrant, it has a occurred as a very rare vagrant in Europe, including Great Britain and Ireland.

Folk names: barrel-maker, bog-bull, bog hen, bog-trotter, butterbump, flying fox, Indian hen, Indian pullet, look-up, marsh hen, mire drum, poke, pond guinea, scoggin, shitepoke, sky-gazer, stake-bird, stake-driver, sun, gazer, thunder pumper, water-belcher.

Botaurus: Latin for bittern; lentiginosus: Latin for freckled, in reference to its plumage. .