Sunbittern in exhibit
Scientific Name
Eurypyga helias
Southern Mexico through Bolivia and Brazil
Forested creeks and streams
Estimated Wild Population
500,000–5 million
Sunbittern in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern

More Information

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.

Did You Know?

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

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

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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Animal Care staff working with seal

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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Two Chilean flamingos in exhibit

Animals Depend On People Too

When you ADOPT an animal, you support world-class animal care by helping to provide specially formulated diets, new habitat elements, and regular veterinary checkups.

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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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African penguin eating a fish

Take Action With Us

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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