American Bittern

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Image:Americanbittern.jpg

Common Name: American Bittern
Scientific Name: Botaurus lentiginosus

Size: 23 ½ - 27 ½ inches (59-70 cm)

Habitat: North and Central America; winters in the southern United States and Central America. It summers throughout Canada and much of the United States. As a long-distance migrant, it is a very rare vagrant in Europe, including Great Britain and Ireland. Found (usually well-hidden) in bogs, marshes and wet meadows.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: 3,000,000. This bird's numbers have declined in the southern parts of its range due to habitat loss. Bitterns are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Diet: Amphibians, fish, insects and reptiles.

Nesting: This bird nests in isolated places with the female building the nest and the male guarding it. Two or three eggs get incubated by the female for 29 days, and the chicks leave after 6-7 weeks.

Cool Facts: Bitterns are camouflage experts; when alarmed, the bittern points its bill skyward and aligns its body contours, and thus the stripes on its breast with the surrounding vertical wetland grasses. This is commonly known as the “bittern-stance” that the bird can maintain for hours..

Its far-carrying booming call is distinctive, but the bittern itself likes to keep under cover.


Found in Songbird ReMix Shorebirds Volume II: Herons and Bitterns

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