American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)
- HABITAT - The American Bittern is found in freshwater and brackish marshes, swamps and reedy lakes. In the winter and during migration, it can be found in salt marshes. It prefers areas with thick clumps of tall plants like bulrushes, cattails, or sedges for easy hiding and with abundant food sources.
The American bittern breeds in wetlands across much of the United States and all Canadian Provinces. It winters along the Pacific Coast, the Gulf Coast and the southern Atlantic Coast south the Mexico and the Caribbean.
- DIET - Bitterns diet is mostly fish and other aquatic life such as frogs, tadpoles, aquatic insects, crayfish, crabs, salamanders, garter snakes and dragonflies. They typically forage by standing still at water’s edge or by walking slowly, capturing prey with sudden thrust of bill. May forage at any time of day or night, but most actively at dawn and dusk.
- FACTS - When they sense danger, they don’t flush easily. Instead, they stay very still with their beak pointing to the sky showing their streaks which blends in perfectly with the reeds. They will even sway slightly in the breeze to mimic the waving reeds.
- The American Bittern population has decreased due to loss of habitat.