Britain’s loudest bird, the bittern, has been heard booming on the Isle of Wight for the very first time.

The presence of one of the UK’s rarest birds is both an indicator that the species is continuing to recover, and that the RSPB’s recently restored wetland at Brading Marshes is flourishing.

The UK bittern population had fallen to just 11 booming males in 1997, and there are still less than 200 bitterns at fewer than 75 UK sites, making the discovery of a male trying to breed on the Isle of Wight even more remarkable.

The RSPB hopes that this booming bittern’s mating call will be successful in attracting a female, and that they too will successfully breed on the reserve; becoming yet another first for the Island.

Warden of RSPB Brading Marshes Keith Ballard said:

“Hearing a booming bittern on a wetland reserve is like receiving a Michelin star as a restaurant; it’s one of the highest marks of success we could hope for. Bitterns have very selective habitat needs, and to attract them you need a truly thriving ecosystem. The work we have done to manage the reserve for insects, fish, reptiles and mammals, as well as birds, now means we have one of the most UK’s most sensitive species choosing the Isle of Wight as its home.”


Staff at the reserve will be monitoring the bird over the coming week.

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