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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Amaze-Wing Facts About The Sunbittern For Kids

Read these sunbittern facts to discover more information about this stunning bird

Sunbitterns (Eurypyga helias) are dark-colored birds of medium size that are indigenous to tropical habitats in northern Brazil and Guatemala. They can be found across Nicaragua, Guyana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, French Guiana, Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela on the banks of narrow rivers and creeks, at the base of mountains, in zoos, forest areas, lowlands, and wetlands. They belong to the family Eurypygidae.

They have a long neck and have brown feathers all over their body along with brown, black, and gray patterns with white-colored tail feathers. They also have a splash of bright orange-chestnut color beneath their brown plumage, near the tip of their wings. They also have orange long legs. These species are 17-19 in (43-48 cm) long and their diet includes crustaceans, amphibians, insects, and fish. Their breeding season starts anywhere between March and May. Only one clutch is raised by these birds in a season and as per the IUCN's Red List, their conservation status is Least Concern.

If you like reading our sunbittern facts, then you can check out our exciting facts about the Guam rail and the American bittern too!

Sunbittern Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a sunbittern?

Sunbitterns are carnivorous animals of medium size belonging to the family Eurypygidae. They are the only species of this family. They are one of many birds that are facing habitat loss due to deforestation.

What class of animal does a sunbittern belong to?

Sunbitterns belong to the class Aves, order Eurypygiformes, and genus Eurypyga.

How many sunbitterns are there in the world?

Their population of these bright orange-colored birds of the class Aves, order Eurypygiformes, and genus Eurypyga is approximately between 500,000-4,999,999 birds. They have further subspecies namely the Amazonian, northern, and foothill sunbittern bird.

Where does a sunbittern live?

These stunning birds can be spotted on the banks of narrow rivers and creeks, at the base of mountains, in forest areas, lowlands, and wetlands. The range of the sunbitterns stretches from Guatemala to Brazil.

What is a sunbittern's habitat?

They make nests in bushes or trees. They make their nests with old vegetable matter, mud, and sticks. They partake in solitary traveling, but they can also be seen flying in pairs. They can be usually seen in humid forests at different altitudes in the 2,620–6,000 ft ( 800–1,830 m) range. Sunbitterns (Eurypyga helias) are widespread and can be found in Nicaragua, Guyana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, French Guiana, Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela.

Who do sunbitterns live with?

They live in nests along with their significant other if they have found one. They are found normally in pairs or alone.

How long does a sunbittern live?

Their average lifespan is 15 years. Smithsonian's National Zoo housed the world's oldest bird of this species, who lived to be 33 years old!

How do they reproduce?

Sunbitterns are found to start breeding any time between March and May. This species only raises one clutch in one season. In a clutch, two to three light brown-colored eggs that have spots in a darker color are laid in a nest mud up of old vegetables, mud, and sticks. The male and female, for approximately 28 days, incubate the eggs. After the eggs hatch, both male and female birds take care of their chicks. The fledging period lasts for 28-30 days, but the parents feed their chicks for an additional two months.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN's Red List, these species is listed as Least Concern. Their population is not fragmented but it is declining slowly.

Sunbittern Fun Facts

What do sunbitterns look like?

Sunbitterns don't normally stand out because of their colors, which camouflage them easily in their surroundings. However, when they spread their wings they reveal a burst of orange hues which are hiding under each wing. They have long legs that have three toes each and their legs are orange in color. Their head feathers are black with a white line along the upper side and bottom side of each eye. They have bright red eyes and their underside, throat, and tail feathers are all white. A lengthy bill that is black-colored on the top and orange-colored on the bottom protrudes from their head.

The wings of sunbitterns have an eye-like pattern which they exhibit when they stretch their wings and tail to scare away predators.

* Please note that this is an image of a young bittern, not a sunbittern specifically. If you have an image of a sunbittern please let us know at [email protected]

How cute are they?

These bright orange and chestnut-colored birds are stunning and mesmerizing to look at. The feathers on their wings exhibit a unique pattern that can amaze anyone who is observing them

How do they communicate?

The sunbittern (Eurypyga helias) has a long whistle as a call which you can hear at dusk and dawn. It is not a noisy animal and they are so silent sometimes, that you can't even hear them flying. This is because of their soft plumage.

How big is a sunbittern?

Sunbitterns are 18-21 in (43-48 cm) long. They are five times bigger than a sparrow.

How fast can a sunbittern fly?

Sunbitterns generally prefer to walk slowly on the ground instead of flying.

How much does a sunbittern weigh?

Average sunbitterns weigh anywhere between 6-9 oz (170-255 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Males and females don't have specific names.

What would you call a baby sunbittern?

Babies of these birds are called chicks.

What do they eat?

Sunbitterns are carnivorous animals whose diet can range from insects and spiders to small reptiles, fish, and amphibians. They search for prey while bobbing their heads on the ground. Before stabbing their prey with their long beaks, this animal stalks them patiently. Their diet includes a diverse variety of prey and their own major predators are caimans and snakes. Their juveniles are exposed to the possibility of being attacked by snakes and small mammals right from birth.

Are they aggressive?

No, sunbitterns are not aggressive. They are slow-moving birds who use their wing pattern as self-defense. They use their long beaks only to hunt prey.

Would they make a good pet?

They are not a suitable pet as they belong in the wild.

Did you know...

The closest relative of this species is the kagu which is found in New Caledonia in the South Pacific and is a rainforest bird!

How does the sunbittern ward off danger?

Sunbitterns exhibit a bold pattern on their wings that resembles bold eyes. This pattern intimidates their potential attacker so, whenever they feel a predator is approaching them, they spread their wings. When an attacker is approaching their chicks or eggs, they act vulnerable by pretending that their wing has broken. This 'broken wing' act aims to divert the attention of the predator from the chicks to themselves.

Where to spot sunbitterns

To spot a sunbittern, Costa Rica is the place to go as there is an ample population of the species there. They can be found near streams or on the ground in forests. They are most easily spotted in the month of March.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the robin, or the common blackbird.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Sunbittern coloring pages.

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