The American Bittern is more often heard than seen, with its loud booming cry heard for
long distances late in the evening and at night. They
inhabit large, vegetated wetland areas, usually slipping through the vegetation
unseen. If startled, it will stand motionless with its head pointed upward,
using its striped underparts to blend into the vegetation.
Habitat: Marshes and sloughs, lakes with emergent
wetland vegetation around its shoreline.
Diet: Fish, aquatic insects, frogs, tadpoles,
salamanders, crustaceans, small rodents, and small snakes and lizards
Behavior: Will feed at any time of day or night. When feeding,
they often stand motionless, blending in the vegetation and waiting for prey to
approach, and then spearing it with a quick jab of their bill.
Nesting: June and July
Song: Very unusual,
booming ooomm-a-lunk that carries for long distances.
Migration: Summers throughout much of the U.S. and southern Canada. Winters near
U.S. coasts, the extreme southern U.S., Mexico, and Central America.
Status: Has declined in parts
of its range due to habitat loss, especially in the southern end of its breeding
eNature.com: American Bittern
Whatbird.com: American Bittern
Photo Information: May 2nd, 2006 -- Near Tea in Lincoln County -- Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution American Bittern photos.