Chordates •


(Botaurus stellaris)



Bitterns are thickset herons with bright,pale,buffy-brown plumage covered with dark streaks and bars As its alternate name suggests,this species is the largest of the bitterns,with males being rather larger than females.The Eurasian or great bittern is 69–81 cm (27–32 in) in length,with a 100–130 cm (39–51 in) wingspan and a body mass of 0.87–1.94 kg (1.9–4.3 lb).The crown and nape are black,with the individual feathers rather long and loosely arranged,tipped with buff narrowly barred with black.The sides of the head and neck are a more uniform tawny-buff,irregularly barred with black.The mantle,scapulars and back are of a similar colour but are more heavily barred,the individual feathers having black centres and barring.The head has a yellowish-buff superciliary stripe and a brownish-black moustachial stripe.The sides of the neck are a rusty-brown with faint barring.The chin and throat are buff,the central feathers on the throat having longitudinal stripes of rusty-brown.The breast and belly are yellowish-buff,with broad stripes of brown at the side and narrow stripes in the centre.The tail is rusty-buff with black streaks in the centre and black mottling near the edge.The wings are pale rusty-brown irregularly barred,streaked and mottled with black.The plumage has a loose texture,and elongated feathers on the crown,neck and breast can be erected.The powerful bill is greenish-yellow with a darker tip to the upper mandible.The eye has a yellow iris and is surrounded by a ring of greenish or bluish bare skin.The legs and feet are greenish,with some yellow on the tarsal joint and yellow soles to the feet.Juveniles have similar plumage to adults but are somewhat paler with less distinct markings.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Aves
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