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HomePet NewsBird NewsThree Bitterns spotted together in Welney Wetlands, Norfolk

Three Bitterns spotted together in Welney Wetlands, Norfolk


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The Eurasian Bitterns, a breed which was brought back from the brink of extinction, were snapped over Welney Wetlands by Dave McGough.

He said: “It’s not often you see three bitterns in the air and another one booming on the ground.”

The unique birds are difficult to spot, owing to their preference for dense reedbeds and their camouflage plumage, but they are famous for the booming call of the male which can be as loud as a jet engine taking off.

READ MORE: Banham Zoo unveils exotic bird show amid controversial new wildlife plans

Eastern Daily Press: Spotting one Bittern is rare - spotting three together is even rarer

Spotting one Bittern is rare – spotting three together is even rarer (Image: Dave McGough)

Eastern Daily Press: The Eurasian Bittern is difficult to spot amongst the muddy-coloured reedbeds The Eurasian Bittern is difficult to spot amongst the muddy-coloured reedbeds (Image: Dave McGough)

According to Wildlife Trust data, bittern numbers were once as low as 11 in 1997, threatening the species with extinction, but efforts to save them saw numbers bounce back to 164 in 2017.

Recording bird numbers was severely impacted by the Covid pandemic but in 2021, 228 booming males were counted across the country.

Rachael Murray from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust said: “Bitterns are a rare bird, with fluctuating fortunes throughout the years, but thanks to concerted conservation efforts from organisations like Norfolk Wildlife Trust and RSPB, their populations have been slowly recovering.”

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