Sunbittern in exhibit

Sunbittern

Scientific Name

Eurypyga helias

Class

Aves

Order

Gruiformes

Range

Southern Mexico through Bolivia and Brazil

Habitat

Forested creeks and streams

Estimated Wild Population

500,000–5 million
Sunbittern in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

Intricately patterned birds, sunbitterns have a dark blueish-black head with white strips above and below their eyes. Their back features alternating black, white, blue, and brown stripes, which help them blend into their forest habitat. A brightly colored pattern on their wings helps to attract mates and drive away rivals.

Interesting Fact 1

Based on current trends of Amazonian deforestation, subitterns could lose nearly 20 percent of their habitat within three generations.

Interesting Fact 2

They use their long, pointed beak to spear swimming fish.

Interesting Fact 3

They scare away predators by spreading their wings to display large red, yellow, and black spots—which are most likely mistaken for eyes.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

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Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy. 

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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

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