Australasian Bittern

Australasian Bittern gliding through the sky

What does it look like? The Australasian Bittern is cryptically-plumaged dark to mid-brown and pale buff, with the markings of the throat and back arranged in a longitudinal pattern. When disturbed it freezes, with its head and bill pointing skywards, the longitudinal pattern mimicking the surrounding reeds of the wetlands within which it lives. In this way it usually avoids detection, although the white of the throat can betray its presence to the careful observer.

Where does it live? The species is found throughout south-eastern australia, including Tasmania, and also in far south-western WA. Regular seasonal movements have been recorded within populations within the Riverina and southern Victoria.

What are its habitats and habits? As it moves within the reeds of Its wetland home it feeds on frogs and small fish, using its long pointed bill to seize its prey from near the surface of the water or amongst the vegetation.  

Scientific name: Botaurus poiciloptilus


Do you want to know the best places to go to see this species? Check out our book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” – available for purchase through our secure online store