Definition of sunbittern in US English:


(also sun bittern)


  • A tropical American wading bird with a long bill, neck, and legs, having mainly grayish plumage but showing chestnut and orange on the wings when they are spread in display.

    Eurypyga helias, the only member of the family Eurypygidae

    • ‘The sunbittern is an elegant bird, with a long bill, slender neck and long legs.’
    • ‘Because sunbitterns are exceptionally good at catching flies and spiders, sunbittern chicks are sometimes taken from their nests and raised as pets.’
    • ‘After breakfast, we board excursion boats and spend the day exploring this flooded realm, seeing wading birds such as white-necked and black-capped herons, wattled jacanas and sunbitterns.’
    • ‘This is a great opportunity to see herons, cormorants, kingfishers and sunbitterns.’
    • ‘Entire avian families, including cotingas, manakins, toucans, and ground antbirds, are essentially confined to the Neotropics, as are such unique species as screamers, trumpeters, sunbittern, hoatzin, and boat-billed heron.’


Late 19th century: so named because the pattern on the spread wings resembles a sunset.