Family Herons (Ardeidae)

Least Concern

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)


Taxonomy

French: Butor d’Amérique German: Nordamerikanische Rohrdommel Spanish: Avetoro lentiginoso
Other common names: North American Bittern
Taxonomy:

Ardea lentiginosa

Rackett#R

, 1813,

Piddletown, Dorset, England

.

Apparently most closely related to B. pinnatus. Monotypic.

Distribution:

S & C Canada (from British Columbia N to Great Slave Lake and along S Hudson Bay E to Newfoundland) S through much of USA, and, at least formerly, in C Mexico. Winters in S USA (California, Gulf Coast and S Atlantic coast), Mexico and West Indies. Old records from Costa Rica and Panama.

Descriptive notes

56–85 cm; 372–1072 g; wingspan 105–125 cm. Limited overlap with B. pinnatus (mainly in Mexico), but latter is separable from present species by... read more

Voice

Has far-carrying booming song typical of all Botaurus bitterns, rendered “oong, kach, oonk... read more

Habitat

Marshes and bogs with shallow (5–20 cm) fresh, brackish or salt water, including artificial... read more

Food and feeding

Very variable, but mainly fish, including eels, catfish, perch, pickerel, suckers, killifish and sticklebacks; also frogs (Rana,... read more

Breeding

Laying Apr–Jul, mostly May in Minnesota, New York and Michigan, and Jun in Quebec. Generally solitary and territorial, with densities... read more

Movements

Extensive post-breeding dispersal from Jul; in Sept–Nov birds migrate S, returning Feb–... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Population levels difficult to estimate, but species generally considered to be stable in Canada and to lesser extent in southernmost... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2017). American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/52729 on 22 November 2017).