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Sunbittern

Eurypyga helias

Sunbittern

Sunbittern are not social birds and are often difficult to locate in the wild.  They are quiet birds but can make quite an unusual mechanical sound.  Sunbitterns catch their prey quickly by using their long neck and sharp beaks.  When a sunbittern spreads its wings it displays eye-like designs, to scare off predators.  The patterns on the wings can also be used for courtship displays, as well as a defence mechanism.

Habitat
Forest and near water

Diet - Carnivore
The sunbittern eats fish, amphibians, insects and small crustaceans.

Size
The average sunbittern can be up to 60 centimetres.

Location
Sunbitterns are found in forested areas in Guatemala to the Pantanal of South Brazil and Paraguay.

Conservation status
The IUCN considers the sunbittern not to be in danger of extinction due to abundant numbers.

Threats
The main threat to the sunbittern is habitat loss.

Current population
It is unknown how many sunbitterns there are in the wild. Populations are not evenly distributed but are locally abundant.

Zoo population
There are around 200 sunbitterns living in zoos and aquariums around the world.