Family Herons (Ardeidae)

Least Concern

Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)


French: Blongios de Chine German: Chinadommel Spanish: Avetorillo chino

Ardea Sinensis

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



Closely related to I. exilis, I. minutus and I. dubius. Monotypic.


Oman; Seychelles; Indian Subcontinent, SE Russia and Japan through C & E China and Taiwan to SE Asia, Greater and Lesser Sundas, Philippines, New Guinea (possibly), N Solomons (Bougainville) and W Micronesia. N populations migrate to S of range, to S India, Philippines and Indonesia, some reaching Wallacea and New Guinea.

Descriptive notes

30–40 cm; 81–104 g; wingspan 45–53 cm. Male has dull black to blue-grey crown and crest, brown forehead, sandy-brown throat streaked brown, buff neck-sides... read more


Following vocalizations have been described: soft, repetitive, up- and downslurred “oo-oo-oo” or “... read more


Mostly in freshwater marshes; also reedbeds and other dense aquatic vegetation fringing lakes, in... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly aquatic insects and their larvae (e.g. Diptera, Libellulidae, Coenagrionidae, Diplonychus japonicus); also small fish (e.g... read more


Starts spring in N, May–Aug in Egypt, Japan and China; Jun–Sept in India, related to monsoons; young recorded May–Nov in... read more


N populations (S to C China and those in NW India) migrate to S of range, to Philippines and... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to frequent in many areas, e.g. Pakistan, Japan, Thailand, Borneo (winter) and Philippines, where generally considered... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis). 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 17 February 2020).