Saturday, 16 April 2016

Common Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)

                                           Adult Common Little Bittern (subspecies I. m. minutusat El Pardo, Spain - April 2016

Local Name (Spain):  Avetorillo comĂșn ("Common Bittern")
Featured Subspecies: Ixobrychus minutus minutus
Weight: 59-150g
Length: 25-36cm
Wingspan: 40-58cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Common Little Bittern is easily the smallest member of the Heron Family found in Europe - my first glimpse of this species flying away from me up a river and my first thought was some species of crake until I saw it's face.  They are a secretive species, yet seemingly not so much as the great Bittern, and their smaller size allows them to be present in smaller reed-beds than it's relative could hide in.  At El Pardo I saw my first individual which was fairly showy in that it stayed in the open for an extended amount of time once it had landed - I saw far more at Arrocampo reserve near Monfrague National Park, but these individuals were really only seen in transit from one reed-bed to the next.

Related Species: 
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Ardeidae
Genus: Ixobrychus
Subspecies: I. m. minutus, I. m. payesii, I. m. podiceps

 - Sighting Locations -
SPAIN - Locally common resident
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: Seen in small numbers at El Pardo (one or two birds seen) and Arrocampo (at least 2 individuals)

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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