American Bitterns are skillful stalkers of still waters. They breed in freshwater wetlands across northern North America and spend winters in Cuba, Mexico, and the southeastern U.S., including at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
Little is known about the natural history of these secretive marsh birds, but their numbers are declining across their range due to the loss and degradation of wetland habitats. Each winter, eagle-eyed visitors on the boardwalk spot American Bitterns, hidden amidst alligator flags and sawgrass. They stand still, blending in with their environment as they study the water for prey. While they specialize in fish, crayfish, frogs, and other aquatic creatures, they also eat anoles, snakes, and even dragonflies.
By April, American Bitterns embark on their journeys north for the summer breeding season.
Learn more about the amazing migration of bitterns and the challenges they face using Audubon’s Bird Migration Explorer tool: explorer.audubon.org
This article appeared in the Spring 2023 edition of the State of the Everglades Report. To read the full report, click here.