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Boat-billed Heron - BirdForum Opus

Photo by gritstone
Ecocentro Danaus Biological Reserve, Costa Rica, March 2007
Cochlearius cochlearius


45–53·5 cm

  • Black crown, long crest and upper back
  • White face, throat and breast
  • Rufous lower underparts
  • Black flanks
  • Pale gray wings and lower back
  • Black broad scoop-like bill
Photo by Steve G
Palo Verde, Costa Rica, July 2008


  • Brown upperparts
  • Brown-tinged whitish underparts
  • No crest


Central and South America. Mexico - ranges from Sinaloa in the west and southern Tamaulipas, south to Panama and northern Colombia and Venezuela, east to the Guianas and north-east Brazil. Occurs throughout Amazonia from Peru eastwards and south to southern Brazil and north-east Argentina.
Probably resident with perhaps some local wandering.



Five subspecies recognized[1]:

  • C. c. cochlearius White-breasted:

Darker-breasted races occur further north:

  • C. c. panamensis:
  • C. c. ridgwayi:
  • C. c. phillipsi:
  • C. c. zeledoni:


Swamps, marshes and lakes with dense bushes and trees.


These are nocturnal birds which roost in large colonies by day but are solitary night hunters.


The diet includes fish, shrimps, crustaceans and insects.
The only heron species that catches its prey by scooping rather than spearing.


It builds a twig nest; the clutch consists of 2-4 bluish white eggs.


Call: a deep croak and a high-pitched pee-pee-pee.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

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