Australasian bittern

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Australasian bittern
Hurepo.jpg
By J. G. Keulemans in Buller's, A History of the Birds of New Zealand
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Ardeidae
Genus: Botaurus
Species: B. poiciloptilus
Binomial name
Botaurus poiciloptilus
(Wagler, 1827)

The Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus), also known as the brown bittern, is a large bird in the heron family.

Description[edit]

It is a large bittern, patterned and streaked brown, buff and black, with a pale throat. It has a distinctive booming voice and may be heard more often than seen.

Behaviour[edit]

It feeds on aquatic animals such as frogs, eels and freshwater crustaceans. It is a solitary nester on the ground in dense wetland vegetation on trampled reeds and other plants.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is found in south-western and south-eastern Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Ouvea. Populations in Australia and New Zealand have declined in the 20th century. It is a cryptic and partly nocturnal species that inhabits densely vegetated wetlands.

Status and conservation[edit]

The principal cause of past and ongoing decline is thought to be wetland drainage and degradation. In Australia it is thought to be particularly sensitive to the destruction of drought refugia. It is listed as endangered on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. It is listed as threatened on the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act of 1988.[2] Under this act, an Action Statement for the recovery and future management of this species has not been prepared.[3] On the 2007 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria, this species is listed as endangered.[4]

Important Bird Areas[edit]

BirdLife International has identified the following sites, all of which are in Australia, as being important for Australasian bittern conservation:[5]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Botaurus poiciloptilus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria
  3. ^ Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria
  4. ^ Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (2007). Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria - 2007. East Melbourne, Victoria: Department of Sustainability and Environment. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-74208-039-0. 
  5. ^ "Australasian Bittern". Important Bird Areas. BirdLife International. 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-29.