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Botaurus stellaris

Map of the common names


Big Heron (L 75 cm), this elusive bird is heard much more often than it is seen. The Bittern is most often found in marshes dominated by reeds and bulrush. The diet consists mainly of fish, amphibians and invertebrates. Birds and small mammals are also eaten occasionally. Migrant.

Watercolour by Serge Nicolle

Reasons for the need for protection/inclusion in annex I

Breeding numbers have declined recently in most European countries, attributed to decrease in habitat quality and availability. Much of the marshes has been lost to drainage, but the abandonnement of traditional management and uses of reed areas has also caused degradation of suitable sites. Local extinctions of the species is probably due to hunting pressure.

Distribution map

yellow = summer visitor
green = resident
blue = winter visitor

Population : 1,000 / 2,000 pairs

Drawing by Manuel Manolos

back to list of threatened species