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Black Bittern - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Neil Fifer
Near Sydney, Australia
Ixobrychus flavicollis

Dupetor flavicollis


Photo © by Romy Ocon
Candaba wetlands, Pampanga province, Philippines, December 2006

54–66 cm (21¼-26 in)

  • Black above
  • Yellow neck sides
  • Whitish undersides are heavily streaked with brown
  • Longish neck
  • Long yellow bill

Female: is not so dark as the male, and is yellower on the underparts
Juvenile dark brown rather than black, otherwise similar to the adult


Tropical Asia toAustralia.
Breeds from south-east Pakistan, throughout India to Sri Lanka and in western Burma, southern China and Hainan, the Philippines, southern Thailand and Indochina, southern Malaya, Sumatra, Java and Timor.

Also occurs in southern New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and Solomon Islands and in coastal western, northern and eastern Australia.

Chinese birds are migratory and winter in Malaysia and Indonesia but elsewhere this species appears to undergo dispersal governed by rains.


Some authorities place this species in the genus Dupetor.


Photo © by Weiss1
Daintree River, Queensland, Australia, February 2010

Ixobrychus flavicollis has three subspecies[1]:

  • I. f. flavicollis:
  • I. f. australis:
  • I. f. woodfordi:
  • Solomon Islands


Densely vegetated margins of lakes and ponds, forest swamps and riverbanks, rice fields and mangroves.


Often nocturnal.


Photo © by SeeToh
Tuas South, Singapore, November 2015

The stick nest is made on a branch overhanging water; it is lined with reeds. Both adults incubate the 3 to 5 eggs and rear the young.


The diet includes frogs, reptiles, fish and invertebrates, snails, dragonflies, shrimps and crayfish.


A booming call.


Click images to see larger version


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BF Member observations
  3. NSW Gov.au
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2015)
  5. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links