This is the largest member of the genus and the largest of the bitterns seen in Sri Lanka too.
It has black upper parts,and a characteristic orange-yellow or raw sienna colored streak on the sides of the head and has long broken streaks of the same color,yellow or yellowish white along the nack to the breat on a black,grey or brown background.
It is a solitary,shy and skulking in habits and is crepescular and nocturnal,making it rather difficult to see in the open during daytime.
It prefers to lurk in dark undisturbed places,coming out only for short periods and flies away fast and silently with powerful and continuous wing beats.
The Sri Lanlkan birds of this species is comprised of both a breeding resident and migratory components,the latter much higher in numbers than the former.Hence it is seen more often and in many parts of the country during the winter migratory season.
It is seen that the birds seen in the Wet Zone are entirely comprised of migrants,while resident pupulations are found in both Intermediate and Dry Zones.
Jagath Gunawardana Attorney at Law