Black Bittern

Scientific Name: Ixobrychus flavicollis

Malay Name: Gelam Hitam

Chinese Name: 黑鳽

Range: Found from the Indian subcontinent to southern China, Southeast Asia and northern Australia with some northern population wintering in Southeast Asia

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: flavicollis, australis, woodfordi.

Local Subspecies: flavicollis

Size: 54-61 cm

Identification: Male has black upperparts, whitish throat, whitish breast with dense dark streaks, and yellow neck-patch. Female resembles male but has darker brown upperparts and more rufescent breast-streaks. Juvenile resemble female but feathers of the crown and upperside have narrow rufous fringes, giving a scaly appearance.

Habitat: Marshes, reedbeds in ponds, and mangroves.

Behaviour/Ecology: Often secretive, hiding in reeds for long periods of time.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Singapore Botanic Gardens, Satay by the Bay, Chinese Gardens, Bidadari, Pasir Ris Park, Pulau Ubin, Tuas South and Sungei Buloh.

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BirdLife International. (2016). Ixobrychus flavicollis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.