American Bittern

Botaurus lentiginosus
Range Map

Often very reclusive birds, these American Bitterns were exceptionally cooperative with me. When they sense they’ve been seen, they become motionless. With bills pointed upward, they blend with nearby reeds, even synchronizing their sway if the wind is blowing. The first two images in this set illustrate this behavior.

Most of these elusive herons breed from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts of North America, north of 39°N in the USA, and north as far as south-central Northwest Territories (Canada). Most of California, southern USA and south to southern Mexico, Cuba and the West Indies hosts these birds when the breeding season is over.

Today, science considers the American Bittern as monotypic (i.e. they recognize no subspecies).



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