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Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)
Birds Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)
Least Bittern foraging in typical habitat

General Description: Least Bitterns (Ixobrychus exilis) are very small, dark-over-light herons with a black hat and streaked front. These birds catch small fish and aquatic insects by standing on the base of cattails and other fairly deep-water vegetation and jab-fishing.

The crown is black, the back is black with white streaks, the side of the face, neck, and body (folded wings) are brown-orange, and the front is light with narrow brown streaks, but the striking feature is the tiny size for a heron.

Taxonomy: Pelecaniformes, Ardeidae

Favored Habitat: Marshes and ponds with emergent vegetation such at cattails and bulrushes.

Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)
Least Bittern foraging in typical habitat

Where to Find: Least Bitterns are not common around Las Vegas, but keep an ear and an eye out for them while birding marshy places with reeds such as the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, Clark County Wetlands Park, Duck Creek, the Pahranagat Valley, and the Overton Wildlife Management Area.

Comments: According to All About Birds (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology), the Least Bittern is one of the most difficult North American marsh birds to spot. Despite its inconspicuousness, however, the species can be rather common within appropriate habitat in its breeding range. I can attest to the first, and from hearing their calls, can believe the second.

Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) more to come
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170529
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