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Australasian Bittern

(Botaurus poiciloptilus)
Alternate name(s): "Brown Bittern", "Australian Bittern", "Black-backed Bittern", "Boomer", "Bull-bird", "matuku hurepo" (NZ)
Aboriginal name(s): "kawoR" [tjapwurrung]; "boordenitj" (WA); "boonboon"

Size: 66-76 cm; wing span 1.0-1.2 m
Weight: 0.6-2.0 kg


Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Australasian Bittern at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information



Sex unknown

Lateral view of an Australasian Bittern in an irrigated rice field (photo courtesy of M. Herring, Bitterns in Rice Project)
[25 km South-west of Coleambally, NSW, January 2017]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Sep - Jan Eggs: 4 - 5 Incubation period: ca. 30? days Fledging age: ca. 63? days

Male Australasian Bitterns tend to have several females, with their nests, in their territory.

Nest building: Female? Incubation: Female Dependent care: Female?


"bungobittah", "lar", "malunna", "jindi" [bundjalung] = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Basket Material: Sticks, reed stalks Height above ground: N/A

Australasian Bittern nest in an irrigated rice field with four eggs in it (photo courtesy of M. Herring, Bitterns in Rice Project)
[20 km South of Coleambally, NSW, January 2017]


"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "mirk", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena", "pum-pum" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 52 x 38 mm Colour: Pale olive-green to olive-brown Shape: Tapered oval

See photo above.


Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary Elementary unit: Solitary/male with females

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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