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a genus of birds of the family Ardeidae. There are four species; they are found in the tropics and subtropics. The USSR (the Amur lowlands and the Ussuri River basin) has one species, the little green heron (B. striatus). It is a small heron, weighing 266–370 g. The upper part is black with a green sheen, the underpart is smoky gray, and the throat is whitish. In young birds the back is brownish and the chest has elongated dark brown spots. The birds settle in individual pairs in coastal thickets, building their nests in trees. Each clutch contains three to five eggs. They feed on small fish, less frequently on frogs and invertebrates. The birds are distributed in South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.