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Saving the British Bitterns

Updated on 08 February, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team


This article is tailored for IELTS aspirants focusing on the topic 'Saving the British Bitterns.' It provides a detailed passage for reading practice along with questions and answers, designed to enhance comprehension and test-taking skills.


The British bittern, a bird with an elusive nature and a distinctive booming call, was once on the brink of extinction in the UK. This majestic bird, primarily found in reed beds of freshwater wetlands, faced numerous threats due to habitat loss and environmental changes. The bitterns, with their well-camouflaged plumage, blend seamlessly into their surroundings, making them difficult to spot. However, despite their discreet presence, the dwindling numbers in the late 20th century raised alarms among conservationists.

In the 1990s, concerted efforts began to restore the bittern's natural habitats. These efforts included the reclamation and management of wetland areas, ensuring a steady supply of fish, the bittern's primary diet, and the maintenance of dense reed beds for nesting. Conservationists worked tirelessly to create optimal conditions for these birds to thrive, including the management of water levels and reed cutting schedules.

Remarkably, these efforts bore fruit, and by the early 21st century, the bittern population in the UK began to show signs of recovery. The success of this conservation endeavor serves as a testament to the resilience of nature when given the right support. The British bittern, once a symbol of environmental neglect, has now become an icon of successful conservation.

Questions & Answers:

Q1. What primary factor contributed to the British bitterns' endangerment?

A) Overhunting

B) Habitat loss

C) Climate change

D) Pollution

A1: B) Habitat loss

Explanation: The passage indicates that the bitterns faced threats primarily due to habitat loss and environmental changes, highlighting the importance of their natural habitats for survival.

Q2. Fill in the blank: The bitterns are predominantly found in __________.

A2: reed beds

Explanation: The passage states that the British bittern is primarily found in reed beds of freshwater wetlands, emphasizing their specific habitat preference.

Q3. True or False: Bitterns are easily spotted due to their distinctive appearance.

A3: False

Explanation: According to the passage, bitterns have well-camouflaged plumage, which allows them to blend into their surroundings and makes them difficult to spot.

Q4. What was a key action taken to help the bittern population recover?

A) Introducing new predators

B) Urban development

C) Wetland restoration

D) Decreasing the water levels

A4: C) Wetland restoration

Explanation: The passage mentions that reclamation and management of wetland areas were crucial to restoring the bittern's habitat, thereby aiding their recovery.

Q5. Fill in the blank: The primary diet of the British bittern is __________.

A5: fish

Explanation: The passage notes that ensuring a steady supply of fish, the bittern's primary diet, was part of the conservation efforts.

Q6. Which decade marked the beginning of concerted conservation efforts for the British bittern?

A) 1980s

B) 1990s

C) 2000s

D) 2010s

A6: B) 1990s

Explanation: The text indicates that efforts to restore the bittern's habitats began in the 1990s.

Q7. True or False: By the early 21st century, the bittern population showed no signs of recovery.

A7: False

Explanation: Contrary to the statement, the passage reveals that by the early 21st century, the bittern population began to recover, illustrating the success of the conservation efforts.

Q8. What is the primary diet of the British bittern?

A) Insects

B) Small mammals

C) Fish

D) Seeds

A8: C) Fish

5 Tips for Cracking the IELTS Reading Exam:

Tip 1: Understand the context of the passage before answering the questions. This helps in accurately interpreting information and details.

Tip 2: Look for keywords in the questions that will guide you to the relevant part of the passage for the answers.

Tip 3: Practice skimming and scanning techniques to quickly locate information without reading every word.

Tip 4: Develop the ability to discern between literal and inferential questions. Some answers will be stated outright in the text, while others will require you to read between the lines.

Tip 5: Manage your time effectively during the test. Allocate time to each section and stick to it, ensuring you can answer all questions within the given time frame.

By diligently applying these tips and thoroughly understanding the passage, learners can approach the IELTS Reading section with confidence and precision.

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upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

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