|By J. G. Keulemans in Buller's A History of the Birds of New Zealand|
|Global range Year-Round Range Summer Range Winter Range|
The Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus), also known as the brown bittern or matuku hūrepo, is a large bird in the heron family Ardeidae. A secretive bird with a distinctive booming call, it is more often heard than seen. Australasian bitterns are endangered in both Australia and New Zealand.
It is a large bittern, patterned and streaked brown, buff and black, with a pale throat.
Distribution and habitat
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
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. Under this act, an Action Statement for the recovery and future management of this species has not been prepared. On the 2007 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria, this species is listed as endangered.
Important bird areas
In the grass, Leeton, New South Wales, Australia
Mounted bittern in the collection of the Whanganui Regional Museum
- BirdLife International (2012). "Botaurus poiciloptilus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria Archived 2008-10-06 at the Wayback Machine.
- Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria Archived 2008-10-15 at the Wayback Machine.
- 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.
- "Australasian Bittern". Important Bird Areas. BirdLife International. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
- BirdLife International (2006) Species factsheet: Botaurus poiciloptilus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/11/2006
- Marchant, S.; Higgins, P.J. (2000). Ratites to Ducks. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. 1. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-553068-3.
- "The endangered bunyip bird boom". Off Track. 28 February 2015. ABC Radio National.
- Radio New Zealand Our Changing World programme "Booming Bitterns", 3 February 2016
- Australasian bitterns discussed on Radio NZ Critter of the Week, 4 Dec 2015
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Australasian bittern.|