Family Herons (Ardeidae)

Least Concern

Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis)


French: Blongios à cou jaune German: Schwarzdommel Spanish: Avetorillo negro

Ardea flavicollis


, 1790,



Often separated in monospecific genus Dupetor. Birds of Moluccas sometimes separated as race gouldi. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. f. flavicollis (Latham, 1790) – Pakistan E to SE China, S to Greater Sundas, Philippines, Sulawesi and satellite islands.
  • I. f. australis (Lesson, 1831) – Moluccas, Timor, Aru Is, lowland New Guinea, and Bismarck Archipelago S to W, N & E Australia.
  • I. f. woodfordi (Ogilvie-Grant, 1888) – Solomon Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    54–66 cm; 208–420 g; wingspan 73·5–80 cm. Distinguished from congenerics by overall very dark upperparts and contrasting yellow neck, as well as... read more


    Song comprises a low, booming, drum-like, slightly descending and drawn-out “whoo-o-o-o-o”, given... read more


    Typically along densely forested freshwater streams and pools or other permanent wetlands. In... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fish (e.g. Perca, Amniataba, Gobiomorphus) up to 15 cm long, frogs, lizards, molluscs, crustaceans (crabs,... read more


    Season related to monsoons in N of range: in India and Pakistan mainly Jun–Sept during SW monsoon, but varies locally with amounts of... read more


    In Indian Subcontinent, local movements depending on water conditions in S, and in N species is... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Probably much overlooked, due to secretive habits. In Australia, may still be fairly common, but has declined considerably,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis). 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 on 28 February 2020).