For camouflage to be effective, it must resemble the organism’s habitat. For birds that live in reeds and grasses, such as the American Bittern, this means long, vertical stripes. Bitterns further the effect of their camouflage by stretching their long necks upwards and swaying with the breeze like the reeds.

This video accompanies Chapter 4, Feathers and Plumages, Handbook of Bird Biology, 3rd Edition from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Wiley Publishing.

Recorded by Eric S Liner, Macaulay Library