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Bittern - will we see them next year?

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Imax
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Bittern - will we see them next year?

Unread postby Imax » Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:44 pm

Having recently replaced my birding book and transferring all my lifer details to the new book I had to do a double take on one species.

I suddenly wondered if I could really have seen a Eurasian Bittern in the lowveld in the early 90s as in today's guides there is hardly a dot left in SA where they have been seen, and my memory is not always toat good (yes i can recall the sighting)

I checked up through all my old biding books and Leonard Gill mentions them although rarely seen often heard in the cape in 1963. OPM Prozesky in '75 mentions them to be predominantly in the eastern parts of the country.

Roberts 5 in 1985 mentions their extinction in the Cape and distribution as follows:
Image

By 1991 Newmans had their range further reduced;
Image

By 2002 (Newmans) and 2005 Roberts 7 there are only a few very rare recordings or this bird left. (with 2 sightings in the Cape)
Image

Image

And lastly there has been only one record of this bird in the last two years on the SABAP atlassing project, with the grey blocks being SABAP 1 in the early 2000s.
Image

Will they be extinct in Southern Africa soon? What is their status in Europe?

I am mightily glad I spotted mine when I did

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Re: Bittern - will we see them next year?

Unread postby jurgens » Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:55 pm

Imax, do you by any chance know the afrikaans name for the Eurasian Bittern?

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Re: Bittern - will we see them next year?

Unread postby Imax » Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:59 pm

Its now called Grootrietreier, but in the past was also called a Roerdomp.

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Re: Bittern - will we see them next year?

Unread postby JoelR » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:29 pm

Apparently it isn't doing too bad worldwide. Wouldn't know where to go to see it in RSA though...

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species wrote:This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 110,000-340,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.


Imax wrote:Its now called Grootrietreier, but in the past was also called a Roerdomp.

Ja-nee, Roerdomp is the REAL name! (In Dutch) :P

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bert
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Re: Bittern - will we see them next year?

Unread postby bert » Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:47 pm

Talking from the european side :D
The Roerdomp is one of the birds having big trouble finding suitable nesting areas in western europe.
Due to more industries and cities expanding.
They need large untouched reed areas to breed.
The were nearly extinct in the 80ties but due to carefull nature conservation they are making a come back and just could be that more
migrating birds will visit SA again.

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Re: Bittern - will we see them next year?

Unread postby Imax » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:50 pm

I certainly hope so! it s a beautifull bird

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Re: Bittern - will we see them next year?

Unread postby jurgens » Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:06 pm

Imax, is the Eurasian Bittern the same as the Great Bittern 'cause the Grootrietreier in english is called the Great Bittern according to SASOL Birds of Southern Africa and it is still very much alive in SA......although definately not common.

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Re: Bittern - will we see them next year?

Unread postby Imax » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:43 pm

Jurgens it is the same one. Botaurus Stellaris, but the picture in my Sasol is not much better:

Image

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Re: Bittern - will we see them next year?

Unread postby mountainview » Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:48 pm

Interesting case study Imax, check out this thread poisoning ..., although it is about raptors, if you follow his blog, he discusses the diminishing numbers of even small birds.
Latest Lifers: Brown-Backed Honeybird; Violet-Eared Waxbill; Green-Winged Pytilia; and heard often but never seen - Yellow-Fronted Tinkerbird (±2m away in the open)


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