066 Little Bittern
(Ixobrychus minutus )


33-38cm. The Little Bittern is a very small heron, smaller than a Moorhen. Secretive, but not infrequently comes to feed at edges of reedbeds etc. Often retreats by climbing and running like a crake rather than flying. Adult male's crown and upperparts black, wing patch buff-white, neat, contrasting. Adult female: Black parts of male are brown, wing patch buff-brown, unstreaked but less contrasting.


A fairly common, widespread breeder throughout the country in the reed belts of natural and artificial ponds, sluggish streams, oxbows, borrow pits and large canals. Its population can be considered stable. Migrant. Can be observed between mid-April and mid-September in Hungary.

066 Little Bittern pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008