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Australasian bittern


Botaurus poiciloptilusAustralasian Bittern

Group:Chordata (vertebrates), Aves (birds), Ciconiiformes (Storks), Ardeidae
Status:Threatened Species Protection Act 1995: Not listed
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999: Endangered
Found in Tasmania and elsewhere
Click to enlarge
​​The Australasian bittern (​Botaurus poiciloptilus) is a large, heron-like bird found in shallow and vegetated freshwater or brackish swamps. The bird can be very difficult to detect due to its camouflage-coloured plumage (its streaked and scalloped feathers blend in perfectly with background reedy vegetation); birds will also freeze if approached, and on windy days may even sway to match the movement of the vegetation. The Australasian bittern has a very distinctive booming call, which can be heard over large distances. While formerly widespread in Tasmania, particularly in the east of the state, over the last two decades the species has declined in numbers and range following an extended period of dryness. The main threats to the species include clearing and drainage of wetland habitats, and drying out of swamp habitat during extended dry periods.

A complete species management profile is not currently available for this species. Check for further information on this page and any relevant Activity Advice.


Key Points

  • Important: Is this species in your area? Do you need a permit? Ensure you’ve covered all the issues by checking the Planning Ahead page.
  • Important: Different threatened species may have different requirements. For any activity you are considering, read the Activity Advice pages for background information and important advice about managing around the needs of multiple threatened species.
What to avoid
  • Clearing and drainage of wetland habitat.



Helping the species


Cutting or clearing trees or vegetation










Changing water flow / quality


Use of chemicals




Further information

​Check also for listing statement or notesheet pdf above (below the species image).

​​Cite as: Threatened Species Section (). (): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link. ​ ​Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania. Accessed on .

Contact details: Threatened Species Section, Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania​, GPO Box 44, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 7001. Phone (1300 368 550).

Permit: A permit is required under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 to 'take' (which includes kill, injure, catch, damage, destroy and collect), keep, trade in or process any specimen or products of a listed species. Additional permits may also be required under other Acts or regulations to take, disturb or interfere with any form of wildlife or its products, (e.g. dens, nests, bones). This may also depend on the tenure of the land and other agreements relating to its management. ​​​​​