For other uses of the word, see Boatbill (disambiguation).
The Boat-billed Heron, Cochlearius cochlearius, - colloquially known as the Boatbill - is an atypical member of the heron family, and was formerly thought to be in a monotypic family, Cochlearidae.
It lives in mangrove swamps from Mexico south to Peru and Brazil. It is a nocturnal bird, and breeds semi-colonially in mangrove trees, laying 2-4 bluish white eggs in a twig nest.
The Boatbilled Heron is about 54 cm long. The adult has a black crown, long crest and upper back. The face, throat and breast are white, and the lower underparts are rufous with black flanks. The wings and lower back are pale grey. The massive broad scoop-like bill, which gives rise to this species' name, is mainly black. Immature birds have mainly brown upperparts and brown-tinged whitish underparts, and lack the crest.
This species feeds on fish, crustaceans and insects. Its calls include a deep croak and a high-pitched pee-pee-pee.
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