Skip to main content

Wild About Birds - Illinois Pelicans, Bitterns, Herons and Allies, Ibises and Spoonbills!

Family and Species Gallery

Kingdom: Animalia - Animals are multicellular organisms that rely on other organisms for nourishment. There cells do not have cell walls. Most animals are capable of movement at least in some portion of their life cycle. Reproduction is generally sexual, but in some animals asexual reproduction may be utilized at certain times.
Phylum: Chordata - The Phylum Chordata contains the vertebrate animals. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes are included in this phylum. These animals have a notochord at some point in their development. They have a tubular nerve cord along the back. Gill slits and a tail are present at some point in their life cycle. They have an internal skeleton.
Class: Aves (birds) - Birds are the only organisms with feathers. They are endotherms, maintaining a nearly constant body temperature. They have a hard bill but no teeth. A gizzard, which functions to grind food, is present in the digestive tract. Fertilization is internal. A nest is built in which the hard-shelled eggs are deposited and incubated.
Order: Pelecaniformes - Tropic birds, pelicans, gannets, boobies and darters are medium-sized aquatic birds. They have long bills and a throat pouch to aid in the capture and eating of fish. These birds nest together in large numbers. All four of their toes are webbed together to help them move through the water.
Family: Pelecanidae (Pelicans) - Pelicans are large, stout aquatic birds. They have elongated and flattened bills and a long neck. There is a huge pouch on their throat. The head rests on the shoulders when the bird flies. They have a straight line flight pattern. The birds float like bouys while they are swimming.
      American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
      brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Family: Ardeidae (Bitterns, Herons, and Allies) - Herons and bitterns are aquatic and wade at the water's edge. They have long legs and necks. The bill is pointed (like a spear) for capturing food. They fly with their heads resting on their shoulders, in an "s" pattern and with the legs sticking straight out behind them.
      American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) [state endangered]
      least bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) [state threatened]
      great blue heron (Ardea herodias)
      great egret (Ardea alba)
      snowy egret (Egretta thula) [state endangered]
      little blue heron (Egretta caerulea) [state endangered]
      tricolored heron (Egretta tricolor)
      cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) [nonnative]
      green heron (Butorides virescens)
      black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) [state endangered]
      yellow-crowned hight-heron (Nyctanassa violacea) [state endangered]

Family: Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
      white ibis (Eudocimus albus)
      glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
      white-faced ibis (Plegadis chihi)
      roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)