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The Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis) is a bittern of Old World origin, breeding in tropical Asia from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka east to China, Indonesia, and Australia. It is mainly resident, but some northern birds migrate short distances.
This is a fairly large species at 58 cm in length, being by some margin the largest bittern in the genus Ixobrychus. Compared to related species, it has a longish neck and long yellow bill. The adult is uniformly black above, with yellow neck sides. It is whitish below, heavily streaked with brown. The juvenile is like the adult, but dark brown rather than black.
Their breeding habitat is reed beds. They nest on platforms of reeds in shrubs, or sometimes in trees. Three to five eggs are laid. They can be difficult to see, given their skulking lifestyle and reed bed habitat, but tend to fly fairly frequently when the all black upperparts makes them unmistakable.
Black bitterns feed on insects, fish, and amphibians.
Range map from www.oiseaux.net - Ornithological Portal Oiseaux.net
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This bird was in the mangroves, calling about an hour after dark. Although not seen, identification was made by comparison with another recordings of Black Bittern (from Australia) and discussion with others who have heard this at the same locality. The sonograms are almost identical. Originally thought to possibly be a scops owl. [Subspecies here most likely australis] Same bird as XC202691
Black bitterns are not listed as threatened on the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
State of Victoria, Australia
The black bittern is listed as threatened on the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988). Under this act, an Action Statement for the recovery and future management of this species has not yet been prepared.
On the 2007 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria, the black bittern is listed as vulnerable.