|A cinnamon bittern beside a paddy field in Jaunpur district, Uttar Pradesh, India|
The cinnamon bittern or chestnut bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus) is a small bittern. It is of Old World origins, breeding in tropical and subtropical Asia from India east to China and Indonesia. It is mainly resident, but some northern birds migrate short distances.
This is a small species at 38 cm (15 in) length, though is one of the larger Ixobrychus bitterns. Possessing a short neck and longish bill, the male is uniformly cinnamon above and buff below. The female is similar but her back and crown are brown, and the juvenile is like the female but heavily streaked brown below.
When surprised on its nest or concerned, it assumes the characteristic attitude of bitterns, aptly termed the on-guard. The neck is stretched perpendicularly, bill pointing skyward, while the bird freezes, becoming astonishingly obliterated amongst its reedy environment.
Their breeding habitat is reed beds. They nest on platforms of reeds in shrubs. Four to six eggs are laid. They can be difficult to see, given their skulking lifestyle and reed bed habitat, but tend to emerge at dusk, when they can be seen creeping almost cat-like in search of frogs.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Ixobrychus cinnamomeus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Ali, Salim; J C Daniel (1983). The book of Indian Birds, Twelfth Centenary edition. New Delhi: Bombay Natural History Society/Oxford University Press.
- Birds of India by Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, ISBN 0-691-04910-6