Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias)

Order: Eurypygiformes | Family: Eurypygidae  | IUCN Status: Least Concern

Age: Adult | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Pasco, Peru

Age: Adult | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Satipo, Peru

Age: Adult | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Amazonia, Brazil

Age: Adult | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Amazonia, Brazil

Identification & Behavior: ~46 cm (18 in). The Sunbittern has a distinctive head and body shape. Its plumage is mostly gray with shades of brown and intricate patterns of fine bars, streaks, and spots. It shows a striking “eye-like” visual pattern when the bird extends its wings.  Its characteristic flight includes shallow wing-beats and glides showing the eyespots. Not a real resemblance, but the similar name and habitat use also bring to mind the Sungrebe.

Status: The Sunbittern favor the edges of just about any body of water. Uncommon in Amazonia where it is known to range to elevations up to 1600 m along the foothills of the eastern Andes.

Name in Spanish: Tanrilla or Tigana.

Sub-species: Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias meridionalis) Berlepsch & Stolzmann 1902 – SC Peru (Junín and Cuzco).

Eurypyga helias helias, Pallas 1781, Amazonia.

Meaning of Name:  Eurypyga:  Gr. Eurus= broad, wide; pyga= puge, the rump. Refers to the broad tail of the Sunbittern. helias=Gr. Solar, of the sun.

See more of the Family Eurypygidae   peru aves

Distribution Map


    • Species range based on: Schulenberg, T. S., D. F. Stotz, and L. Rico. 2006. Distribution maps of the birds of Peru, version 1.0. Environment, Culture & Conservation (ECCo), The Field Museum. on 7/09/2014.