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SCIENTIFIC NAME
COMMON NAME
THUMBNAILS
Kingdom Animalia
Click to hear the call  Click to watch the video
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Ciconiiformes
Family Ardeidae
Genus Ixobrychus
Species minutus
Classification Linnaeus, 1766
Common name little bittern
Size 33 - 38 centimeters
Wing Span 52 - 58 centimeters
Male weight 140 grams
Female weight 140 grams

Geographic Range temperate Europe, Western Asia, New Zealand, Southern Australia. It winters in Africa.
Physical Characteristics short neck, long and yellow beak, yellow underparts. The body is slender, long legs are greenish. Male back and head are dark with green reflections, wings are light. The female has brown strips on the upper part of the body, while on the lower parts the bands are reddish and less evident. The colors of the plumage let it camouflages itself between the reeds.
Behaviour it's difficult to observe it, because it lives hidden in the reedbed. It is especially active during the night, when it moves flying and swimming searching for food.
Notes in order to escape the predators, it succeeds in keeping in a so called "pole" position for a long time, with the extended neck and the beak upwards, as it was a reed.
Habitat it can be found in the marshes with thick vegetation, on rivers and ponds banks. During winter or in the migratory period it can be observed along the sea littoral.
Flight it flies slowly, with quick flutterings of wings and long glides, with the neck folded and legs extended backwards.
Food habits it feeds on insects, little fishes, amphibians.
Nidification in Italy in nests between the end of May and the beginning of June on platforms made of reeds between the shrubs. It lays 4 - 8 eggs. Both parents take care of the young before and after the hatching, that takes place after 16 - 20 days of incubation. The young are able to fly after 25 days.

Sources  
References

Oiseaux.net
"Tarabusino - Ixobrychus minutus", articolo pubblicato sulla rivista Laguna, n 9, Agosto 1992

Web References

http://www.oiseaux.net/
http://www.regione.emilia-romagna.it/laguna

Source of the photo http://www.worldbirder.com/
Source of the call http://aves.desdeinter.net/
Source of the video http://www.hbw.com/ibc/

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