Schrencks Bittern (Ixobrychus eurhythmus)

Schrencks Bittern

[order] CICONIIFORMES | [family] Ardeidae | [latin] Ixobrychus eurhythmus | [authority] Swinhoe, 1873 | [UK] Schrencks Bittern | [FR] Blongios de Schrenck | [DE] Mandschurendommel | [ES] Avetorillo Manchu | [NL] Mandsjoerijs Woudaapje


Monotypic species


Ixobrychus is a genus of bitterns, a group of wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae. It has a single representative species in each of North America, South America, Eurasia and Australasia. The tropical species are largely resident, but the two northern species are partially migratory, with many birds moving south to warmer areas in winter. The Ixobrychus bitterns are all small species, their four larger relatives being in the genus Botaurus. They breed in large reedbeds, and can often be difficult to observe except for occasional flight views due to their secretive behaviour.

Physical charateristics

This is a small species at 38 cm in length, with a short neck, longish yellow bill and yellow legs. The male is uniformly chestnut above, and buff below and on the wing coverts. The female and juvenile are chestnut all over with white speckles above, and white streaks below. When in flight, it shows black flight feathers and tail.

wingspan min.: 55 cm wingspan max.: 59 cm
size min.: 33 cm size max.: 39 cm
incubation min.: 16 days incubation max.: 18 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 18 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia : East


Their breeding habitat is reedbeds. They can be difficult to see, given their skulking lifestyle and reedbed habitat, but tend to emerge at dusk, when they can be seen creeping almost cat-like in search of preys.


Nests solitary close to water just above or on the ground. Sometimes in thick vegetation but never above 1 meter. The nest is made of dry stalks line with grass with a clay base to keep the eggs from getting wet. Clutch size is 3-6 eggs, which are incubated 16-18 days.

Feeding habits

Little known, feeds on fish, frogs, shrimps and insects. Mostly crepuscular, but also active during the day.

Video Schrencks Bittern


copyright: youtube


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The Schrenck’s Bittern, Ixobrychus eurhythmus is a small bittern. It breeds in China and Siberia from March to July, and Japan from May to August. It winters in Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Laos, passing through the rest of South-east Asia. It is an exceptionally rare vagrant as far west as Europe, with a single record from Italy as far back as 1912. It is named after Leopold Schrenk,the nineteenth century Russian naturalist.
Schrencks Bittern status Least Concern


Migration towards winter quarters starts in Aug, with main passage through Hong Kong in Sept, Oct, and through Malay Peninsula in Oct-Nov; returns through Thailand in Mar-Apr and through Malay Peninsula in Apr-Jun, reaching breeding grounds of S in Apr-May and extreme N in Jun. Vagrant to Burma and Palau Is (Micronesia); two surprising records from Europe, in Germany and Italy, the latter at any rate not apparently bird escaped from captivity.

Distribution map

Schrencks Bittern distribution range map

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