The sighting of one of the rarest breeding birds in the UK at a nature reserve in Suffolk gives hope for the species as teams work hard to protect them.

Teams at RSPB Minsmere were delighted when a bittern was photographed stepping out onto some ice at the nature reserve during some cold weather. 

Bitterns are a form of well-camouflaged heron that hides in reed beds and were once thought to be extinct in the UK.

The bittern is classified as a red-list endangered species and as few as 200 males remain today. 

Male bitterns have a very distinctive 'booming' call so, while the species may be one of the most endangered, it is also one of the loudest. 

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Ian Barthorpe, Visitor Experience Officer at RSPB Minsmere said: "Bitterns are shy, scarce birds that live in reedbeds.

"Their superb camouflage makes them very difficult to spot deep in the reeds, where they feed along the edges of pools and ditches.

"But in freezing weather, they are forced into the open more, and visitors to RSPB Minsmere can then enjoy superb views of Bitterns walking on the ice, as captured so beautifully by Les Cater.

"Habitat loss and pesticide poisoning almost led to Bitterns becoming extinct in the UK in the 1990s, but thanks to careful habitat management and reedbed creation by the RSPB and other conservation organisations, there are now more than 200 booming males across the UK."

East Anglia is becoming more of a hot spot for the endangered species, "due to the range of rich lowland coastal habitats, such as reedbed, that they prefer for breeding and feeding," said a spokesman for Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Teams are working hard to restore natural reedbeds for wading birds such as the bittern, with hopes the species can continue to grow across the UK.