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common name for a graceful, stout-bodied, bitternlike bird, Eurypyga helias. It is named for its wing markings, an orange-chestnut shield set in an orange-buff circle, which looks like a setting sun. The rest of its plumage is intricately barred, striped, and mottled in black, white, brown, gray, and olive. Measuring from 18 to 21 in. (46–53 cm) in length, sunbitterns rarely fly, but, rather, walk slowly upon long, bright orange legs, holding their snakelike necks parallel to the ground. Found singly or in pairs, they are native to the thick, tropical jungles and swamps of Central and South America. They are silent creatures and use their long and straight, sharply pointed bills to spear their diet of insects and small fish. They build a grass and mud nest either on the ground or in low trees, in which the female lays her two oval-shaped, buffy or clay-colored eggs. Both sexes share in nest building, incubation, and the care of their highly precocious young. When excited, the sunbittern goes into a most elaborate dance, with wings and tail spread out in a defensive posture. Sunbitterns are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Gruiformes, family Eurypygidae.
References in periodicals archive ?
Because of the unknown trematode status of most of the above species at the time of recommendation, breeding was either suspended altogether (for blue-crowned motmots, blue-grey tanagers, crested wood partridge, emerald starlings, Inca terns, Micronesian kingfishers, pheasant pigeons, sunbitterns, and white-headed buffalo weavers) or artificial incubation of eggs and hand-rearing of chicks (lesser green broadbills and Bali mynahs) was performed to prevent chick exposure to the intermediate host.
Cosmopsarus regius; n = 5), green-naped pheasant pigeon (Otidiphaps nobilis', n = 3), green wood hoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus; n = 3), hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus; n = 2), Inca tern (Larosterna inca, n = 1), Jambu fruit dove (Pdlinopus jambu; n = 2), laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae; n = 2), lesser green broadbill (Calyptomena viridis; n = 2), masked lapwing (Vanellus miles; n = 2), Micronesian kingfisher (Todiramphus cinnamomina; n = 2), Nicobar pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica; n = 8), Papuan (Blyth's) hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus; n = 3), red-billed leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea; n = 2), scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber; n = 4), snowy egret (Egretta thula; n = 1), sunbittern (Eurypyga helias; n = 3), and white-headed buffalo weaver (Dinemellia dinemelli; n = 2).
From 2009 to 2014, 17 birds, hatched in Free Flight before identification of this issue, were transferred to other institutions based on Species Survival Plan recommendations, including Bali mynah, black-necked stilt, blue-grey tanager, red-crested wood partridge, green-naped pheasant pigeon, golden-breasted starling, hooded merganser, Nicobar pigeon, ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), and sunbittern.