Little Bittern ( Ixobrychus minutus, family: Ardeidae)

little bittern kruger national park birds The Little Bittern (Latin name Ixobrychus minutus) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 78 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 599 also a picture of the Little Bittern on page 577. The Little Bittern belongs to the family of birds classified as Ardeidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Little Bittern is also known by these other names: African Little Bittern.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

Little Bittern Kruger National ParkThe Little Bittern is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a rare summer resident

In terms of distribution of the Little Bittern in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Little Bittern : see above distribution map.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

The Little Bittern is a bird a little bit bigger than a starling. The height of the Little Bittern is about 36 cms and its weight is about 110 gms

The male and female Little Bittern have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is black.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is grey.
  • Throat is brown.
  • Back is black, brown.
  • Legs are yellow.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Little Bittern feeds on the ground mainly


Aquatic life forms

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Little Bittern is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Ixobrychus minutus will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Little Bittern is to create the nest on the ground. The bird lays eggs which are blue, white in colour and number between 2 to 5

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Little Bittern are: wetlands and riverine areas

You will normally see the Little Bittern by itself rather than in the company of birds of the same species.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Ihashe

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Kleinrietreier (Woudapie)

German ... Zwergrohrdommel

Portuguese ... Garote-comum

French ... Blongios nain

Dutch ... Woudaapje

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 78

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,