Yellow Bittern’s Stance

“There was an earlier posting of a Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) in camouflage mode LINK.

“It was my pleasure to observe a Yellow Bittern attempting its camouflage stance recently. In this instance, however, while it was trying to appear invisible, it remained quite visible due to the bittern’s plumage not blending well with the environment.

“This bittern was preening itself before it became aware that it was being watched. It was amusing to watch it slowly being transformed from relax mood to camouflage mode. In normal relax mode, its neck appeared short. This ‘short’ neck would extend and appear longer and longer when the bittern was alert and in a heightened state. Its neck was impressively long when fully extended; appearing to be at least twice its body length. In its heightened state and camouflage mode, its bill would also point skywards. From side profile, its head would turn to directly face the perceived threat (that was me). Its yellow eyes were striking with both eyes clearly visible. Apparently, pointing its bill upwards would get its bill out of the line of vision and aid in the bittern’s binocular vision as it focus its sight towards the perceived threat.

“To appreciate the transformation and impressive neck, the composite images show various stages of bittern’s posture in sequence. If you look at the images closely, you will notice that the bittern was standing on one leg all the time. It was amazing that it managed to maintain its balance and stance with its neck fully extended and even with some minor swaying of its neck.”

Kwong Wai Chong
21st March 2012


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