Cinnamon Bittern In Australia

To: Birding-Aus Aus <>
Subject: Cinnamon Bittern In Australia
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2011 20:18:00 +1100
Dear All,

After reading Adrian Boyle's post re the finding of a Cinnamon Bittern S of Broome, something rang a bell. I remembered a paper in the Oriental Bird Club's journal, "Forktail" from a few years back. After digging through a few issues. I came across the paper, "Waterbirds and coastal seabirds of Timor-Leste (East Timor): status and distribution from surveys in August 2002-December 2004" Forktail 21 (2005): 61-78 by Colin R Trainor. In the paper, Trainor cites a short communication in the Indonesian journal "Kukila" 8 (1996) 158-159 "First record of Cinnamon Bittern for Timor" Noske, RA and Ueda, K, in which the authors described their sighting of a CB near Kupang, West Timor in December 1995. When Trainor carried out his surveys in 2002-2004, he found that Cinnamon Bitterns were locally common at several locations on the Fuiloro Plateau.

Cinnamon Bitterns are pretty good fliers, and migrate from East Asia to SE Asia. Vagrants have turned up as far out of their normal range as the Seychelles and Maldives. There are recorded breeding records from as far east in the Lesser Sundas as Flores. It is only some 800Km from Timor to Australia, not a great distance for a CB

With with breeding and non-breeding records so close to Australia, it is not inconceivable that the species may be extending it's range into Northern Australia. There is some 500,000 Km2 of the Top End with possibly suitable habitat, particularly during the Wet, so there could already be a population up there. Unfortunately the most likely areas for them to be found are fairly isolated and have poor access in the Wet. Also, I don't think you get that many birders get around that part of the country.

It will be interesting to see if any further CBs turn up in the north in the next few years. It will certainly be worthwhile for those in the area to keep an eye open.


Carl Clifford ===============================

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