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Canada's Species   Birds

American Bittern

Botaurus lentiginosus

American Bittern. Photo:Peter Mirejovsky
American Bittern. Photo:Peter Mirejovsky

The American bittern is more often seen than heard, and its bizarre guttural song ("unk-a-chunk, unk-a-chunk") is probably more often mistaken as a well pump or machine than correctly identified as an American bittern. Good luck spotting this bird! When threatened or disturbed, this attractive bird will likely stand with its head and neck straight up and sway slightly, blending in perfectly with the surrounding grasses and cattails. Bitterns require marshes and other wetland habits, commonly bordering on lakes. Not surprisingly, the destruction of wetland habitat has caused a decline of the American bittern across its range.

Map of American Bittern in Canada
Distribution of American Bittern in Canada

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