Eurasian Bittern

(Botaurus stellaris)

The elusive presence of this species is betrayed in spring by its loud call, similar to a gloomy ‘bellow’ which can even be heard a couple of kilometres away.


Compact, with a short neck, light in colour with long vertical beige stripes, it has very mimetic plumage that is brownish-yellow striped with black. During the day, it remains still among the reeds, at times taking a mimetic position, with its neck and beak pointed upwards and waving to imitate the rushes moved by the wind.


Dense rushes or formations of marsh vegetation (particularly phragmites, typha, and scirpus) in ponds and on riverbanks and lakeshores.

Observation in the Torbiera Reserve

They have a scarce but regular presence, both during migration and in the middle of winter. They frequent the densest, oldest areas of rushes and can be surprised rather easily in the open when the surface of the water is frozen. The importance of this species is also confirmed by its inclusion in Annex I of European Council Directive 79/409/EEC.

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