Little Bitterns

To: "" <>
Subject: Little Bitterns
From: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2019 03:57:14 +0000

Thanks Lyndon. Further to discussion so far.  These are difficult because the juv gradually transitions from a coarsely streaked juv plumage to plainer adult plumage, much as a night heron, with the further complication of the different gender plumages, and with little information on when the sexes are separable. HANZAB: 'Adult male. Definitive basic ... attained early in second year' 'Adult female.  Definitive basic ... possibly obtained early in second year'.  Consider the below.


S is Shorty’s bird. L1 and L2, Lyndon’s. AF1 and AF2, the 2012 female in different lights. IM, the McKellar transitional male, end of first year, presumably.



It is possible that the top row are all the same bird, or birds at the same plumage stage. A difference from the adult female is the additional streaking, in particular the streaked wing coverts that appear as an unstreaked panel in the female bird, concealing the dark primaries.  L1 shows dark primaries, but a juvenile would have those (dark grey-brown, ‘slightly paler’ than female) – see flight illustrations in HANZAB and ABG.  I have been unable to confirm that the airport juvenile was definitely released at Kelly Swamp.


-----Original Message-----
From: Lyndon Howe <>
Sent: Thursday, 10 January 2019 12:21 PM
To: Canberra Birds <>
Subject: Emailing: DSC_6457


  A "Little Bittern" (female ?) seen opposite Cygnus hide at Jerra.

Yesterday, at 9:45.


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