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Australasian Bittern

Botaurus poiciloptilus


A deceptive bird in size and in camouflage. Colouration is mainly brown with stripes and flecks of grey and white and lighter brown. His head is small with a very large strong straight beak. They are heron in appearance, but can change their shape at will and look like anything from a stick to wavy bit of tussock. They have very short tails, and are quite recognizable when they fly, looking like a sort of cut off heron , with a raggedy tail, but it is not their tail at all , it is their long yellow feet extending out behind them beyond the end of their tail.


Seen in open farmland near marshy watery ditches.


Bitterns are like some kind of rare pokemon for birders here, they are quite rare in NZ I think, at least in visibility. This is the not my first sighting of a bittern here, but the first decent photo, because he was right by the road just doing his stick thing, no one else even noticed him there...

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1 Comment

AshleyT 4 years ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Spotted by

New Zealand

Spotted on Jul 28, 2016
Submitted on Aug 4, 2016

Spotted for Mission

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