The Matuku isn’t our namesake for nothing, it is a very special bird. They are cryptic birds so we need to know more about them. Developing a database of boom onset may simply answer whether there is a regional difference in onset of booming but over time may also increase awareness of matuku presence generally and add to knowledge of their site preference.

Although bitterns/matuku can disperse to and through various wetlands throughout the year, the booming of the male matuku defines a site as a potential breeding territory. Males boom from early spring through to summer to attract mates and to deter rivals.

               Is there a regional difference in the start of booming time? 

Getting a reply from observers throughout the country can perhaps give a ready answer to this question.  However, a longer term Citizen Science project that accumulates a database of annual territories, will give an additional indication of population stability or decline.

Add your information to our database – record when you first heard a boom; the time of day; where it was [GPS co-ordinates if possible]; perhaps some confirmatory booms in the following days. Consider asking any residents close by your wetland[s] of interest to also take part- the more information the better!

When  and where did you hear, the first bittern of the year?

More info with John Sumich or via and fill out the survey here.


Beautiful bittern images by Imogen Warren Photography.