Sunday, October 21, 2012

Yellow Bittern

Ixobrychus sinensis
The Yellow Bittern is a small species of Heron that lives in southern and eastern Asia. They only grow to sizes of around 15in (about a quarter of the size of the largest Heron-- the Goliath Heron!) The name comes from the coloration of the male, who is a dull yellow-brown with lighter undersides. Females are streaked brown. They are difficult to spot while not in flight, as their colors camouflage them in the reeds and other aquatic plants.

Yellow Bitterns are, on the whole, resident birds, though some that live further north will seasonally migrate small distances. They live in freshwater wetland areas like marshes and ponds, and even near man-made canals and reservoirs. There they feed on fishes, amphibians, and insects.

In places closer to the equator, where the temperatures remain more consistent, the Yellow Bitterns breed year round (elsewhere they have more defined seasons). Males attract females by hunching up their necks, puffing out their chests, and performing a series of calls (their bills also take on a reddish color at the base). The parents will construct a nest together, built near water using reeds and other plants. 3-5 eggs are laid at a time, and incubation duties are shared by both the mother and father.

Yellow Bitterns have a very large range and a large population size, so they are currently listed as being of Least Concern.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Asia
Size : Length up to 15in (38cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Pelecaniformes
Family : Ardeidae -- Genus : Ixobrychus -- Species : I. sinensis

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