The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae, with 64 recognised species (some are called “egrets” or “bitterns” instead of “heron”). Within Ardeidae, all members of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus are referred to as “bitterns”, and — including the zigzag heron or zigzag bittern — are a monophyletic group within the Ardeidae. However, egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white or have decorative plumes. Although egrets have the same build as herons, they tend to be smaller.
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