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Capped Heron Pilherodius pileatus

  • Order: Pelecaniformes
  • Family: Ardeidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: F. E. Buderman


Geographic Variation

No variation described.

Related Species

Relationships to other herons uncertain. Described by Boddaert in 1783 as Ardea pileata, with a type locality of Cayenne. The monotypic genus Pilherodias was described in 1855 by Bonaparte. Bock (1956) placed the Capped Heron within the subfamily Ardeinea, tribe Nycticoracini, and genus Nycticorax, based on similarities in the adult plumage.  However, at the time there were no immature specimens of pileatus for comparison with the other immature night-herons, which are brown with elongated spots (Bock 1956).  This lack of a well defined immature plumage (Wetmore 1965), along with its feeding behavior (Haverschmidt 1958), separates the Capped Heron from the night-herons. Payne and Risley (1976) suggested that morphologically the Capped Heron is more similar to Ardea than to Nycticorax. Unfortunately, recent molecular work on heron relationships has not included the Capped Heron (e.g., Sheldon 1987, Sheldon et al. 1995, Sheldon and Slikas 1997, Sheldon et al. 2000).

Recommended Citation

Buderman, F. E. (2010). Capped Heron (Pilherodius pileatus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.