Based on your description, my suggestion would be a Black Bittern. 'Dull
charcoal colour' sounds more appropriate for Black than Australasian and they
tend to be a more riverine species than the Australasian, which prefers swamps
Some links to photos of Black Bittern
> Date: Fri, 5 Nov 2010 12:48:24 +1100
> CC: ; ;
> ; ; ;
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Help with ID please
> I was down near the Peel River this morning, about twenty kms upstream from
> Tamworth, when a heavy bodied bird flew low along the river past me.
> It had to be either a bittern or an immature night heron.
> It disappeared aroung a bend, so I didn't watch it for long, but I did get a
> pretty clear view of it. My impression was of a bird that was all over
> dull charcoal in colour. There were no obvious markings and definitely no
> striations as far as I could see. Size wise, I felt it was a bit bigger
> than a little black cormorant and much thicker in the body.
> Any young night herons I've seen have been heavily striated. Are they ever
> without them? My feeling is that I've seen an Australasian Bittern, but
> I'd like to hear your comments.
> The river has very heavy vegetation (includingreeds) all along it at the
> vicinity of the sighting. The banks are fairly high in the main, so the
> river is contained - ie although there's continual, thick shelter, there
> aren't any spread out swamps.
> Cheers Annabel Ashworth
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