Story: Wetland birds

Australasian bittern

Australasian bittern

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.

Using this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: 10030562
Photograph by Dick Veitch

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Christina Troup, 'Wetland birds - Bitterns and spoonbills', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/14619/australasian-bittern (accessed 26 February 2020)

Story by Christina Troup, published 24 Sep 2007, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015