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Academic & Professional Books  Ornithology  Birds: General

Die Grosse Dommel (Eurasian Bittern) Botaurus stellaris

Monograph
By: Kurt Gentz(Author)
80 pages, 24 b/w photos, 2 b/w maps, 6 tables
Die Grosse Dommel (Eurasian Bittern)
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  • Die Grosse Dommel (Eurasian Bittern) ISBN: 9783894327507 Paperback Dec 1965 Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
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About this book

Language: German

The Eurasian bittern, which belongs to the herons, is common in almost all of Europe (especially in Holland), as well as in Asia and North Africa, and related species occur in North and South America, New Zealand and Australia. It lives in swamps and bogs, ponds and lakesides filled with reeds and canals, and is so specialized for a specific food and breeding habitat in its way of life, its entire physiology and behaviour that it is unable to adapt to changing ecological conditions. Due to the increasing cultivation of the landscape, which in many cases affects their breeding area, the populations of this interesting bird are declining more and more.

The very secretive bird, which reveals itself only by its grotesque, reverberating call – in Germany it is also known by its common name "Moorochse", or moor oxen – and it disguises itself by a behaviour known in German as "Pfahlstellung", by which it stands erect with it head pointing upwards, therebt completely merging with its environment. This makes it difficult to observe, so that much of its breeding biology is still unclear.

As formerly all fish-eating birds were considered to be harmful, the bittern was ruthlessly persecuted and hunted for centuries, especially as it was also – as it still is today in the Balkans and among the Arabs – valued venison. It has only recently been recognized that on the contrary, it is useful by eliminating aquatic insects harmful to the fish fry of commercial species used in the fishing industry. Since it is now under our protection, it is to be hoped that the bittern, which is a non-migratory bird in many areas, but suffers severe losses in severe winters, as a bird of bogs, will assert its place amongst domestic wildlife.

Summary in German:
Die zu den Reihern gehörige Große Dommel ist in fast ganz Europa (vor allem in Holland), auch in Asien und Nordafrika verbreitet und kommt in verwandten Arten in Nord- und Südamerika, Neuseeland und Australien vor. Sie bewohnt Sümpfe und Moore, rohr- und schilfbestandene Teiche und Seenränder und ist in ihrer Lebensweise, ihrer gesamten Physiologie und Verhaltensweise so sehr auf einen bestimmten Nahrungs- und Brutbiotop spezialisiert, daß es ihr nicht möglich ist, sich an veränderte ökologische Verhältnisse anzupassen. Durch die zunehmende Kultivierung der Landschaft, der in vielen Fällen ihr Brutgebiet zum Opfer fällt, gehen daher die Bestände dieses interessanten Vogels immer mehr zurück.

Der sehr heimlich lebende Vogel, der sich nur durch seinen grotesken, weithin hallenden Ruf verrät – im Volksmund heißt er auch 'Moorochse' – und sich in der Pfahlstellung so tarnt, daß er vollständig mit seiner Umgebung verschmilzt, ist schwer zu beobachten, so daß vieles in seiner Brutbiologie noch ungeklärt ist.

Wie früher alle fischfressenden Vögel für schädlich galten, so wurde auch die Dommel jahrhundertelang rücksichtslos verfolgt und bejagt, zumal sie auch – wie heute noch auf dem Balkan und bei den Arabern – als geschätztes Wildbret galt. Erst neuerdings erkannte man, daß sie im Gegenteil durch Vertilgung von der Fischbrut schädlichen Wasserinsekten der Fischwirtschaft nützlich ist. Da sie bei uns jetzt unter Naturschutz steht, bleibt zu hoffen, daß sich die Dommel, die in vielen Gebieten Standvogel ist, in strengen Wintern aber große Verluste erleidet, als Charaktervogel der Moore ihren Platz in der heimischen Tierwelt behaupten wird.

Customer Reviews

Monograph
By: Kurt Gentz(Author)
80 pages, 24 b/w photos, 2 b/w maps, 6 tables
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