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Australasian Bittern Survey (Birdlife Australia)

August 20th, 2022

Australasian Bittern are a partially nocturnal, cryptic, and nomadic heron species, which historically, have been observed in three countries, including Australia, New Caledonia, and New Zealand. The species has been classified as globally endangered since 2016 due to the declining trajectory of its small remaining population (1000 – 2499 individuals). The lack of rigorous baseline data and understanding of breeding behaviour of the species have been identified as barriers to effective conservation efforts aimed at reversing these trajectories.

Very soon, male Australasian Bitterns will begin establishing their territories in freshwater habitats comprising dense reedbeds, and producing a distinct, low frequency call referred to as a ‘boom’. This boom both attracts females and intimidates rivals.  Birdlife Australia is recruiting listeners from across the Australasian Bittern’s range to undertake coordinated listening surveys and help identify this season’s breeding sites.  Ideally, volunteers should be available once over these date ranges:

  • September 8 – 12th,
  • October 8 – 12th,
  • November 6th – 10th,
  • December 6th – 10th

There’s no expectation to be available for every date. Listeners can determine how many they’re available for. Even just one dawn or dusk survey during the identified dates is an exceptional contribution.

More information can be found here:

Birdlife Australia