American Bitterns Foraging
American Bitterns are typically solitary foragers. You rarely see more than one at a time (if you’re lucky enough to see one) stealthily standing in place, or slowly walking, as it looks for insects, amphibians (frogs, tadpoles (pictured) and salamanders), small fish, mammals (mostly meadow voles), crayfish and small snakes to eat. This solitary feeder’s cryptic coloration, especially the stripes on its breast and belly, is thought to function mostly to reduce visibility to prey and competitors rather than to predators. With lightning speed a bittern seizes its prey and swallows it head first . Roughly twenty-two hours after eating, a bittern ejects the indigestible part of its meal in the form of a pellet.
Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com and click on the yellow “donate” button.