The Bittern is a species of heron. It is known for the loud call of the males during the breeding season, which is similar to a bull mooing. The Bittern is a secretive animal which lives in dense reedbeds. Due to its excellent camouflage plumage it is very hard to observe among the reeds but the loud call of the males can be heard for kilometers around.
The Bittern is found in suitable habitats across Europe, Asia and Africa. In Bulgaria it nests in isolated sites mainly in wetlands along the Danube River, as well as in a few inland and coastal wetland areas – the Dragoman Marsh, the Hadjidimitrovo fishponds, the Shabla and Durankulak lakes etc.
In 2013 the species was confirmed to nest in the Burgas Lakes. The nesting pair was recorded in the Vaya Lake; there is a high probability for nesting in the Poda and Uzungeren Protected Areas too.
The species is found in Bulgaria all year round. In winter it is more widely distributed in southern Bulgaria as water bodies there freeze at a slower rate. During the winter the Bittern can often be seen in the Burgas Lakes, sometimes in groups of more than five individuals.
The BSPB took special measures for the maintenance of the habitats of the Bittern in Poda Protected Area. Sections of the reedbeds were mowed by means of a special amphibious machine. The new reed that grows in the place of the old one is less dense and allows for a damper environment; thus a mixed habitat of old and new reed is created which is the Bittern’s preferred habitat. The machine also creates a maze of canals and open water areas which are ideal for the species to search for its food – fish, amphibians, small mammals and birds. These areas are inhabited by many other species of waterfowl too.
In addition, we created new open water areas by digging out ponds with industrial backhoes. We created three open water areas in Poda Protected Area, as well as one in Atanassovsko Ezero Managed Reserve.
The developed National Action Plan for the conservation of the Bittern will be approved officially soon. It will provide the framework for the most urgent measures for the protection of the species.
Learn more about the Bittern