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bittern

bittern, common name for migratory marsh birds of the family Ardeidae (heron family). The American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus), often called "stake driver" because of a territorial male's booming call in the spring, is widely distributed in E North America. It is mostly nocturnal and feeds on frogs, fish, and insects. When pursued, the bittern escapes detection by standing motionless with its bill uplifted, its brown and yellow markings and striped foreneck blending with the marsh grasses. It is about 2 to 3 ft (61–91 cm) tall; the western and eastern least bitterns, genus Ixobrychus, are about half this size. Of the 12 species of bitterns, 8 constitute the smaller birds. The female bittern builds the nest, which consists of an unkempt arrangement of sedge grass and reeds. The nests are built on the ground along rivers or lakeshores and house the clutch of 3 to 6 eggs. Both male and female share the incubation duties. Bitterns are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Ciconiiformes, family Ardeidae.

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bittern

bit·tern / ˈbitərn/ • n. a large marsh bird (genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus) of the heron family, with brown streaked plumage, including the American bittern (B. lentiginosus). The males of certain species are noted for a deep booming call during the breeding season. bit·tern2 (also bitterns) • n. a concentrated solution of various salts remaining after the crystallization of salt from seawater.

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bittern

bittern Solitary, heron-like wading bird with a characteristic booming call found in marshes worldwide. A heavy-bodied bird, it is brownish with streaks and spots which help to disguise it. The female lays 3–6 eggs. Length: 25–90cm (10in–3ft). Family Ardeidae, species Botaurus stellaris.

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bittern

bittern marsh bird with booming note. XIV. Earliest forms botor, butor, etc. — OF. butor — Rom. *būtitaurus, f. L. būtiō bittern + taurus bull. Forms with final n (XVI) are perh. due to assoc. with hern HERON.

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bittern

bittern See ARDEIDAE.

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bittern

bitternbaton, batten, fatten, flatten, harmattan, Manhattan, Mountbatten, paten, patten, pattern, platen, Saturn, slattern •Shackleton • Appleton •Hampton, Northampton, Rockhampton, Southampton, Wolverhampton •Canton, lantern, Scranton •Langton, plankton •Clapton •Aston, pastern •Gladstone •Caxton, Paxton •capstan • Ashton • phytoplankton •Akhenaten, Akhetaten, Aten, Barton, carton, Dumbarton, hearten, Parton, smarten, spartan, tartan •Grafton •Carlton, Charlton •Charleston • kindergarten •Aldermaston •Breton, jetton, Sowetan, threaten, Tibetan •lectern •Elton, melton, Skelton •Denton, Fenton, Kenton, Lenten, Trenton •Repton •Avestan, Midwestern, northwestern, Preston, southwestern, western •sexton •Clayton, Deighton, Leighton, Paton, phaeton, Satan, straighten, straiten •Paignton • Maidstone •beaten, Beaton, Beeton, Cretan, Keaton, neaten, Nuneaton, overeaten, sweeten, uneaten, wheaten •chieftain •eastern, northeastern, southeastern •browbeaten • weatherbeaten •bitten, bittern, Britain, Briton, Britten, handwritten, hardbitten, kitten, Lytton, mitten, smitten, underwritten, witan, written •Clifton •Milton, Shilton, Stilton, Wilton •Middleton • singleton • simpleton •Clinton, Linton, Minton, Quinton, Winton •cistern, Liston, piston, Wystan •brimstone • Winston • Kingston •Addington • Eddington •Workington •Arlington, Darlington •skeleton •Ellington, wellington •exoskeleton •cosmopolitan, megalopolitan, metropolitan, Neapolitan •Burlington • Hamilton • badminton •lamington • Germiston • Penistone •Bonington • Orpington • Samaritan •Carrington, Harrington •sacristan • Festschriften •Sherrington • typewritten •Warrington • puritan • Fredericton •Lexington • Occitan • Washington •Whittington • Huntington •Galveston • Livingstone •Kensington •Blyton, brighten, Brighton, Crichton, enlighten, frighten, heighten, lighten, righten, tighten, titan, triton, whiten •begotten, cotton, forgotten, ill-gotten, misbegotten, rotten •Compton, Crompton •wanton • Longton •Boston, postern •boughten, chorten, foreshorten, Laughton, Morton, Naughton, Orton, quartan, quartern, shorten, tauten, torten, Wharton •Alton, Dalton, Galton, saltern, Walton •Taunton • Allston • Launceston •croton, Dakotan, Minnesotan, oaten, verboten •Bolton, Doulton, molten •Folkestone • Royston •Luton, newton, rambutan, Teuton •Houston • Fulton •button, glutton, Hutton, mutton •sultan •doubleton, subaltern •fronton • Augustan • Dunstan •tungsten • quieten • Pinkerton •charlatan • Wollaston • Palmerston •Edmonton • automaton • Sheraton •Geraldton • Chatterton • Betterton •Chesterton • Athelstan •burton, curtain, uncertain •Hurston

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Bittern

BITTERN

BITTERN (Heron; Heb. אֲנָפָה, anafah), mentioned among the unclean birds (Lev. 11:19; Deut. 14:18) and referring to birds of the family Ardeidae which are aquatic and marsh birds. Various species occur in Israel such as the white heron (Egretta alba) whose span can be as much as a yard. On the other hand the buff-backed heron (Bulbucus ibis) is much smaller. The latter, as well as many other species of bittern, have greatly increased in recent years in Israel with the spread of fish ponds and irrigation.

bibliography:

Lewysohn, Zool, 169–70; F.S. Bodenheimer, Ha-Ḥai be-Arẓot ha-Mikra, 2 (1956), index; J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 84.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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