Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)
Bittern (Botaurus stellaris). Taken at Otmoor, Oxon., on November 13th 2016.
Taken at Otmoor, Oxon., on November 13th 2016.
(1/320th sec at f13. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)


L: 69 - 81 cm; WS: 100 - 130 cm

A large buff-brown heron. Slightly smaller than the Grey Heron, but much more compact and stocky.

The breeding range of the northern subspecies (B.s. stellaris) extends across temperate parts of Europe and Asia from the British Isles, Sweden and Finland eastwards to Sakhalin Island in eastern Siberia and Hokkaido Island in Japan.

It breeds only in extensive Phragmites reedbeds. The nest is a platform of reeds at water level.

It is a secretive bird, seldom seen in the open as it prefers to skulk in reed beds and thick vegetation near water bodies.

It has Amber status on the British list. There are about 80 breeding males in the UK. Around 600 birds spend the winter here.


18-Apr-2019 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
13-Apr-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (1h)
13-Nov-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
23-Jan-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)