a family of birds of the order Gruiformes.
The sole species, the sun bittern (Eurypyga helias), is about 45 cm long. The plumage is soft and dense, with white, gray, black, and chestnut speckling and barring. The sun bittern is distributed in tropical America from southern Mexico to central Brazil. It is secretive, occurring singly or in pairs on shaded, often swampy forest floors near bodies of water. Only during the mating season does the male, with tail and broad wings outspread, display himself in a forest clearing. The sun bittern is terrestrial and feeds on insects, small crustaceans, and small fish. The nests, constructed of plant material and mud, are typically placed in trees and shrubs. A clutch contains two eggs; the incubation period is about 28 days.