American Bittern

Basic Description

The American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) is a medium-sized wading bird, found throughout North America. It has a stocky and thick body, with long legs and neck. The plumage of the American Bittern is predominantly brown, with vertical streaks on its head and throat.

Where To Find This Bird

The American Bittern can be found across much of North America during the breeding season. They are common in many wetland habitats such as marshes, swamps, and bogs. During migration and winter months they move to more coastal areas.


American Bitterns favor wetlands with tall vegetation where they can hide among the reeds or cattails to hunt prey or escape danger from predators. These birds prefer shallow water areas that feature dense aquatic vegetation for nesting purposes.


Like most herons, egrets, ibises and bitterns; the American Bittern feeds primarily on fish but also eats amphibians such as frogs and salamanders along with insects like dragonflies which make up an important part of their diet too. Their hunting strategy involves standing still amidst cattails or other thick stands of emergent vegetation until their prey comes within reach.

Cool Facts

– When threatened by predators or humans approaching their nests; American bitterns will often freeze in place amongst nearby vegetation so as not to draw attention to themselves.
– Despite being quite secretive birds that usually go unnoticed by human observers due to camouflage patterns that blend well into natural surroundings – this species harbors some fascinating vocalization abilities: male bitterns produce booming sounds during mating season through inflating air sacs located near their throats.
– The name “bittern” may come from the Middle English word “bytre,” meaning a bittern, and the Old French word “butor,” meaning a bittern, which are used interchangeably.