Australasian bitterns or matuku are mottled brown with a cream throat, long legs and neck. They are related to herons, but are more thickset. Extremely shy, they hide among raupō and reeds, often standing stretched upwards to merge with the reedy background. They have eyes that can look down even when holding their head high – ready to spot fish, frogs or eels.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Dick Veitch
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