Eurasian Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)
(aka Bittern, Common Bittern, Great Bittern)
Bittern, Minsmere, Suffolk, England, March 2005 - click for larger image Minsmere, Suffolk, England
March 2005

Populations in Britain and round the Mediterranean tend to be sedentary but elsewhere breeding takes place from Central and northern Europe across southern Siberia and up to the Pacific. These birds winter further south in Africa and Asia. There is also a resident population in South Africa.

Bittern, Minsmere, Suffolk, England, March 2005 - click for larger image It is a large heron, about the size of a Grey Heron Ardea cinerea and is buffy-brown in colour.

It flies rather infrequently and usually at dawn or dusk. In flight it has broad wings, a heavy looking front end and trailing feet though, head on, as in these photos, these features are difficult to detect.

Bittern, Minsmere, Suffolk, England, March 2005 - click for larger image It breeds in extensive reedbeds and is extremely difficult to see on the ground. It feeds on fish, frogs and insects. Its call is a deep booming sound.
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