from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the green heron, Butorides virescens
  • n. the black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
  • n. the American bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The small green heron of North America, Butorides virescens, also called poke, chalk-line, and fly-up-the-creek.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From shite + poke, with reference to the birds' habit of defecating when disturbed.


  • My favorite nickname for this bird is "shitepoke", so called for its habits of taking flight, pooping in mid-air and flying away.

    Even Birds Use Bread for Bait

  • He'd be all right with a little rest, but sometimes, after a more severe ordeal by snow and silence, a man would come out crazy as-they had a word for it here-as a shitepoke, the big awkward heron that seemed to have no sense at all.

    Manuscript Draft: Walter Reed: Doctor in Uniform, by Laura Wood, [19 -- ]

  • An oriole in orange and black heard his challenge, and flew up the river bank, answering at steady intervals for quite a time before it was visible, and in resorting to the last notes he could think of a quail whistled "Bob White" and a shitepoke, skulking along the river bank, stopped and cried, "Cowk, cowk!"

    The Harvester

  • "Ah-rr-oomp, ah-rr-oomp, ba-rr-oomp," came from the edge of the water the deep cry of the bullfrog; from the further end of the lake came the strange gobble, gurgle and gulp of the shitepoke, the small green heron which is the flitting ghost of shaded creeks and haunting thing of marshy courses everywhere.

    A Man and a Woman

  • My father called the great blue heron a shitepoke.

    The Albert Lea Tribune

  • Mathews cites The First Book of the American Chronicles of the Times as the first printed appearance of the term shitepoke.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol IV No 1

  • Steve Hicks Lawrence, Kansas In his article, "That Dirty Bird," on the onomastic migrations of the shitepoke [III, 3], Steven R. Hicks makes passing reference to the intriguing word shyster, an American colloquialism dating from at least as early as 1846 (see Mitford Mathews, Americanisms, 1966).

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol IV No 1

  • In my article, "That Dirty Bird," I have mentioned my discovery that shitepoke first appeared in print in the 1775

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol IV No 1

  • But, like the authorities consulted, my informants overwhelmingly agreed that shitepoke and its variants remain thinly-veiled and contemptuous epithets.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol III No 3

  • According to legend, a fleeing shitepoke could evacuate for half a mile; the latter part of his name means bag. (pp. 245-6)

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol III No 3


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