Adult male © Myles McNally eBird S46848868 Macaulay Library ML 105828501
Adult female © Brad Imhoff
Adult male © Jonah Benningfield
Adult male © Matt Davis
Adult male © Don Danko
+ 2
Juvenile © Roy Chatburn

Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis

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This diminutive heron is fairly common in its preferred wetland habitat, but secretive and easily overlooked. Tiny size and attractive pattern of orange, black, and white is distinctive among herons within its range. Males are blacker above; females are browner. Occurs throughout much of North and South America, where it can be found in marshes with a mix of open water and vegetation, often with cattails, phragmites, or lily pads. Usually seen perched motionlessly, straddling reeds at the edge of water. Occasionally makes short flights just above the reeds. Listen for the soft cooing song, given during the day and at night.