Eurasian Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)

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The Eurasian Bittern or Great Bittern (Botaurus stellaris) is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae.

Bitterns are thickset herons with bright, pale, buffy-brown plumage covered with dark streaks and bars, similar in appearance to the American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosa. As its alternate name suggests, this species is the largest of the bitterns. The Eurasian or Great Bittern is 69–81 cm (27–32 in) in length, with a 100–130 cm (39–51 in) wingspan and a body mass of 0.87–1.94 kg (1.9–4.3 lb).Distribution and habitat

Distribution in Europe as a whole is estimated at 20-44,000 males.It usually inhabits Phragmites reedbeds. The population is declining in much of its temperate European and Asian range. It is resident in the milder west and south, but migrates south from areas where the water freezes in winter. In the UK, the main areas are Lancashire and East Anglia with an estimated 44 breeding pairs. In Ireland it died out as a breeding species in the mid-19th century, but in 2011 a single bird was spotted in County Wexford and there have been a number of subsequent sightings.

photo: Mihai BACIU


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