Cinnamon Bittern

Scientific Name: Ixobrychus cinnamomeus

Malay Name: Gelam Bendang

Chinese Name: 栗苇鳽

Range: Found from Indian subcontinent to China and Southeast Asia with some northern population wintering south to Southeast Asia

Taxonomy: Monotypic.

Size: 38-41 cm

Identification: Male has distinctive uniform bright cinnamon-rufous wings and upperparts while female has slightly darker upperparts with vague buffish speckling on scapulars and upperwing-coverts and variably dark crown. Juvenile resembles female but has buffish streaks on sides of head and dense buffish speckling on upperparts and upperwing-coverts. In flight, this species lacks black primary tips unlike Yellow and Von Schrenck's Bittern.

Similar looking species: Von Schrenck's Bittern

Habitat: Grasslands and marshes near freshwater wetlands and occasionally mangroves.

Behaviour/Ecology: Often seen in flight. Sometimes perches motionless for long periods before feeding.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant and rare resident

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Bidadari, Punggol Barat, Seletar West, Choa Chu Kang Cemetery, Kranji Marsh, Tuas South, Japanese/Chinese Gardens, Lorong Halus, Pasir Ris Farmway 3, Pasir Ris Park, Sungei Buloh and Satay by the Bay.

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Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus
Estimated average number of individuals by week based on eBird data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023
Peak week Jan 01-Jan 07
Early date 02 Jul 2006
Late date 29 Jun 2003
Recorded year-round, although migrants make up a large number of the birds seen in Singapore. The presence of migrants from Nov-Apr makes this the easiest time of year to find this species.


BirdLife International. (2016). Ixobrychus cinnamomeus. 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.

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