Botaurus stellaris (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 239 ; (Naum.), ix. p. 159, Taf. 226 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 317, p. lxxxiv. figs. 1, 2 ; Gould, B. of E. iv. pl. 280 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit iv. pl. 27 ; Dresser, vi. p. 281, pl. 403 ; David and Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 446 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxvi. p. 253 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 991 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 405 ; Saunders, p. 383 ; Lilford, vii. p. 38, pl. 13 ; Seebohm, B. Jap. Emp. p. 226.
Grand Butor, French ; Gallinhola real, Portug. ; Avetoro, Span. ; Tarabuso, Ital. ; Rohrdommel, German ; Roerdomp, Dutch ; Rordrum, Norweg, and Dan. ; Rordrom, Swed. ; Wyp, Russ. ; Niv-goung, Baz, Hindu. ; Sankano-goi, Jap.
Male ad. (Holland). Crown and nape black, the latter with warm ochreous tips ; upper parts generally warm ochreous buff, irregularly marked and barred with blackish ; quills and tail chestnut-red, the former barred, the latter blotched and marbled with black ; chin buffy white, with a dark brown median and a lateral stripe on each side from the base of the bill ; neck and breast-feathers elongated, the lateral ones yellowish buff, with blackish bars, the middle ones ochreous, with broad central rufous streaks marbled with blackish ; rest of under parts yellowish buff, streaked with blackish brown ; bill and legs greenish yellow, the latter greener ; iris yellow Culmen 2.8, wing 11.7, tail 4.45, tarsus 3.5 inch. Female similar but rather smaller.
Hab. Europe generally, hut rare in the northern portions, formerly breeding in many parts of England, but now only an uncertain visitor ; Northern Africa in winter ; Asia as far east as Japan, north to the Yenesei and Lena, south to Ceylon and southern China.
Frequents large swamps, and reed-beds, and is shy and secretive, and chiefly nocturnal in its habits. Its flight is soft and noiseless but somewhat laboured and seldom prolonged. Its usual call-note is a loud, clear croak, but in the breeding season the male utters the loud booming sound, resembling the deep bellowing of a bull, whence its name in so many lan¬guages is derived. It feeds on amphibians, water-insects, worms, crustaceans, and small mammals. Its nest is a mere bed of flags and reeds, placed on the ground or in the reed- beds in some secluded marsh, and the eggs, 3 to 5 in number, usually laid in May, are uniform brownish olive and measure about 2.5 by 1.52.
807. Botaurus stellaris