Description of the American Bittern
The American Bittern is a secretive marsh bird, mostly brown with a long, boldly streaked neck, greenish legs, and a long greenish-yellow, pointed bill. It has a black malar stripe and dark flight feathers.
Same as male.
Seasonal change in appearance
Juveniles resemble adults.
American Bitterns inhabit wetlands and marshes with much emergent vegetation.
American Bitterns eat fish, but also many other aquatic animals.
The American Bittern forages by waiting patiently or walking very slowly and capturing prey with a quick thrust of its bill.
When threatened, it points its neck and bill straight up, using its striped neck to camouflage it within the reeds.
American Bitterns breed from southern Canada as far south as the central U.S. states. Their population appears to be decreasing.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the American Bittern.
American Bitterns have been observed capturing flying dragonflies.
Young American Bitterns are fed by the female, who regurgitates partially digested prey.
American Bitterns produce a very distinctive, booming, "Ooonk-aloonk."