With a wingspan of 92 to 115 cm (36 to 45 in), a body mass of 370 to 1,072 g and 58 to 85 cm (23 to 33 in) length, the American Bittern is a large, chunky, brown bird.

Habitat and Distribution

This bittern winters in the southern United States and Central America. It summers throughout Canada and much of the United States. As a long-distance migrant, it is a very rare vagrant in Europe, including Great Britain and Ireland


Like other members of the heron family, it feeds in marshes and shallow ponds dining on amphibians, fish, insects and reptiles.


This bird nests in isolated places with the female building the nest and the male guarding it. Two or three eggs are incubated by the female for 29 days, and the chicks leave after 6 to 7 weeks.

Calls and Songs

The bittern has a call that resembles a congested pump.