Australasian Bittern - profile

Indicative distribution


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Key:
known
predicted
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Botaurus poiciloptilus
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Endangered
Gazetted date: 05 Nov 2010
Profile last updated: 01 Dec 2017

Description

The Australasian Bittern is a large, stocky bird, reaching up to 75 cm in length. It has a long, thick neck and a straight, brownish-yellow bill. Its upper surface is mottled brown and its undersurface is buff, with dark brown stripes, except for a pale throat. The eyes are yellow and there is a pale eyebrow. The feet and legs are pale green.

Distribution

Australasian Bitterns are widespread but uncommon over south-eastern Australia. In NSW they may be found over most of the state except for the far north-west.

Habitat and ecology

  • Favours permanent freshwater wetlands with tall, dense vegetation, particularly bullrushes (Typha spp.) and spikerushes (Eleocharis spp.).
  • Hides during the day amongst dense reeds or rushes and feed mainly at night on frogs, fish, yabbies, spiders, insects and snails.
  • Feeding platforms may be constructed over deeper water from reeds trampled by the bird; platforms are often littered with prey remains.
  • Breeding occurs in summer from October to January; nests are built in secluded places in densely-vegetated wetlands on a platform of reeds; there are usually six olive-brown eggs to a clutch.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Threats

Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Plains Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Range Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Brigalow Belt SouthMoonie-Barwon Interfluve Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Brigalow Belt SouthNarrandool Known wetlands/swamps/marshes
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Basalts Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Known wetlands/swamps/marshes
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Outwash Known wetlands/swamps/marshes
Brigalow Belt SouthTalbragar Valley Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Cobar PeneplainBarnato Downs Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Cobar PeneplainBoorindal Plains Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Cobar PeneplainCanbelego Downs Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Cobar PeneplainLachlan Plains Known None
Cobar PeneplainNymagee Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Darling Riverine PlainsBogan-Macquarie Known wetlands/swamps/marshes
Darling Riverine PlainsCastlereagh-Barwon Known wetlands/swamps/marshes
Darling Riverine PlainsCulgoa-Bokhara Known wetlands/swamps/marshes
Darling Riverine PlainsLouth Plains Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Darling Riverine PlainsMenindee Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Darling Riverine PlainsPooncarie-Darling Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsWarrambool-Moonie Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Darling Riverine PlainsWilcannia Plains Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Mulga LandsParoo Overflow Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Mulga LandsParoo-Darling Sands Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Murray Darling DepressionDarling Depression Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Murray Darling DepressionSouth Olary Plain Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
NandewarKaputar Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
NandewarPeel Known wetlands/swamps/marshes
New England TablelandsEastern Nandewars Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastDalmorton Known None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Hunter Known None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Predicted None
NSW South Western SlopesCapertee Valley Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Known wetlands/swamps/marshes
NSW South Western SlopesLower Slopes Known wetlands/swamps/marshes
OceanBatemans Shelf Known None
OceanManning Shelf Known None
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Predicted None
Other StateQLD Known None
Other StateSA Known None
Other StateVIC Known None
RiverinaLachlan Known None
RiverinaMurray Fans Known None
RiverinaMurray Scroll Belt Known None
RiverinaMurrumbidgee Known None
RiverinaRobinvale Plains Predicted None
South East CornerBateman Known None
South East CornerSouth East Coastal Ranges Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
South Eastern HighlandsBungonia Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCapertee Uplands Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
South Eastern HighlandsCrookwell Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsHill End Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMurrumbateman Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsOberon Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
South Eastern HighlandsOrange Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Predicted None
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known east of Cessnock
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Known None
Sydney BasinKerrabee Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Sydney BasinMoss Vale Known None
Sydney BasinPittwater Known None
Sydney BasinWollemi Predicted wetlands/swamps/marshes
Sydney BasinWyong Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Known None