Nature Journal
with Photos

American Bittern Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Medium-sized wading bird
- Dark brown upperparts
- Underparts streaked brown and white
- Black malar streak
- Yellow bill with dark culmen
- Black primaries and secondaries
- Sometimes "freezes" with neck held upwards
- Immatures similar to adults but lack the malar streak
Similar species
Least Bittern is much smaller with buff wing coverts. Immature Night-Herons have white spotting or streaking on the upperparts, lack the black malar streak, have thicker bills, and lack the black primaries and secondaries (a useful field mark in flight)
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