China is a good place to see bitterns. In addition to the Great Bittern (the one familiar to European readers), it is also possible to see Black Bittern, Cinnamon Bittern, Von Schrenck’s Bittern and Yellow Bittern. Of the smaller bitterns, the Yellow Bittern is most numerous in Beijing with Von Schrenck’s also breeding in small numbers. Cinnamon is an occasional (and increasing?) late Spring visitor (and possible breeder?) and there is just one record of Black Bittern.
Below are some images of Cinnamon, Von Schrenck’s and Yellow Bitterns, all taken in Beijing or neighbouring Hebei Province.
First, the beautiful richly coloured Cinnamon Bittern.
Next up, Von Schrenck’s Bittern. The males and females look quite different.
Finally, the Yellow Bittern. A common breeder, including in the Olympic Forest Park and Yeyahu NR.
8 thoughts on “Bitterns”
Nice set Terry. I remember the much blacker flight feathers of Yellow cf Von Schrenk’s being a useful field character when flushing small bitterns at Bedaihe many years ago, especially when, as one of your photos shows, occasionally Yellow has an upper wing covert pattern quite similar to that of VSB.
Thanks Dave. Yes, that Yellow Bittern underwing is very distinctive. Definitely something to look for if one only has brief views of a small bittern…
Great photos. I’ve only seen yellow, which is a nice species… but the others here look stunning.
Thanks Ken. I love bitterns.. It’s great to have Yellow Bittern breeding in a central Beijing park and it’s not *too* difficult to see Von Schrenck’s and Cinnamon at the right time of year.
You did well to get the flight shots …! Cinnamon and Schrenk’s are particularly attractive.
Thanks John. At this time of year they are feeding young, so flying to and fro. I was lucky enough to find a good spot and enjoyed great views of all three…
I can only repet what others have said Terry – great pic!
Thank you, Jan!