American Bittern Identification

The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    American Bitterns are medium-sized herons with thick, compact bodies. They have shorter legs and thicker necks than typical herons and a slightly hunched posture. The daggerlike bill is long, straight, and sharply pointed. The wings are broad but the wingtips are somewhat pointed.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Green Heron; Smaller than a Great Blue Heron.

    Relative Sizebetween crow and goosebetween crow and goose
    Measurements
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 23.6-33.5 in (60-85 cm)
      • Weight: 13.1-17.6 oz (370-500 g)
      • Wingspan: 36.2 in (92 cm)