Stripe-backed Bittern (Ixobrychus involucris)

Stripe-backed Bittern

[order] CICONIIFORMES | [family] Ardeidae | [latin] Ixobrychus involucris | [authority] Vieillot, 1823 | [UK] Stripe-backed Bittern | [FR] Blongios varie | [DE] Streifendommel | [ES] Avetorillo Listado | [NL] Gestreept Woudaapje


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Ixobrychus involucris SA n, se, sw


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

A small buff colored wader with a black striped back, rufous wing tips and a black stripe trough the middle of the crown. Underparts whitish striped. Iris yellow, legs and long heavy bill yellow green. Sexes are similar.

Listen to the sound of Stripe-backed Bittern

[audio: Bittern.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 42 cm wingspan max.: 45 cm
size min.: 28 cm size max.: 33 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


South America : North, Southeast, Southwest


favours frsh water swamps with thick vegetation, also found in large reedsbads and areas with high growing sedges.


Solitary breeder, nset is built in thick inaccessible patches of vegetation about half a meter above ground. It is conical shaped and made out of dry sticks and reed. 3-4 eggs are laid.

Feeding habits

Mainly small fish, invertebrates and insects like dragonflies and beetles. Diurnal feeding but has been observed feeding nocturnal.

Video Stripe-backed Bittern


copyright: David Ascanio


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). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not 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.
Might be just a migrant in Suriname, but very little is known about this species whereabouts. Species were found in Maasstroom, Peperpot and Marienburg.
Stripe-backed Bittern status Least Concern


Little is known about migratory movements. Presumed to be sedentary in some areas where it occurs all year round, e.g. Chile, S Brazil, Punta Lara in North East Argentina. Some birds may migrate towards North, as the species is absent from some of its nesting areas during Southern winter, and some records outside breeding range in North East Brazil.

Distribution map

Stripe-backed Bittern distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *