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Central and South America. Mexico - ranges from Sinaloa in the west and southern Tamaulipas, south to Panama and northern Colombia and Venezuela, east to the Guianas and north-east Brazil. Occurs throughout Amazonia from Peru eastwards and south to southern Brazil and north-east Argentina.
Five subspecies recognized:
Darker-breasted races occur further north:
Swamps, marshes and lakes with dense bushes and trees.
These are nocturnal birds which roost in large colonies by day but are solitary night hunters.
The diet includes fish, crustaceans and insects.
It builds a twig nest and 2-4 bluish white eggs are laid.
Call: a deep croak and a high-pitched pee-pee-pee.
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