Black Bitterns

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The Black Bittern, Ixobrychus flavicollis, is a bittern. It is of Old World origins, breeding in tropical Asia from 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 58cm length, with 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 reedbeds. They nest on platforms of reeds in shrubs, or sometimes in trees. 3-5 eggs are laid. They can be difficult to see, given their skulking lifestyle and reedbed habitat, but tend to fly fairly frequently, when the all black upperparts makes them unmistakable.

Black Bitterns feed on insects, fish and amphibians.

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