18th October 2022

In search of Boomers

NZ Birds – Otago, with sponsorship from ORC, and technical support of DOC and a University of Otago PhD candidate, have embarked on a regional survey and monitoring program for Australasian Bittern/ matuku-hūrepo and marsh/ spotless crake.

Fun facts about bittern:

  • They’re endangered; we think there are less than 1000 but we fear we may have been double counting.

  • They rely on a lek breeding strategy (ladies choice) therefore males boom to attract a mate.

  • Females nest around the booming platform.

  • Males may travel between nearby and even more distant wetlands during the breeding season booming on several platforms.

  • The peak in booming occurs between the last week of September and the 1st/2nd week of November so its breeding season NOW!

  • The best time to listen for booming is 1.5hr before sunrise and 1.5hrs after sunset.

Surveys (Active listening) for these species will occur on calm evenings with 3 repeats per site.

Trustee and local ecologist Dawn Palmer is leading the local effort to inventory our wetlands and will be undertaking active and passive listening surveys using Acoustic Recording Devices. 

If you are interested in helping to survey our local wetlands for these secretive and cryptic species please get in touch with Dawn – dawn.palmer@xtra.co.nz

You can listen to bittern booming and find out about these birds on www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz ; click the link for bitterns here  https://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/australasian-bittern

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