Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis (Gmelin, 1789)In need of conservation  -  S2S3B (State rare breeder)    Synonyms: LEBI.
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Chordata   >   Class Aves   >   Order Pelecaniformes   >   Family Ardeidae   >   Genus Ixobrychus   

Status:

The small and secretive Least Bittern is one of Maryland's more mysterious breeding birds. They'll begin returning in April and some will nest in various high-quality wetland habitats.

Least Bitterns are rarely glimpsed, more often detected by their subtle but distinctive coo-coo-coo-coo calls. Smaller than a Green Heron at 11-14 inches, the species is at home in dense marsh vegetation such as cattails, where it can hunt for small fishes and other aquatic prey from precarious perches just above the water. Listen for calling adults in summer and watch for quick flybys like this one in marshes, especially freshwater marshes.

There are 157 records in the project database.

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Least Bittern in Frederick Co., Maryland (5/20/2007). (c) Bill Hubick, all rights reserved. Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Frederick Co., Maryland (5/20/2007). (c) Bill Hubick, all rights reserved. Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Least Bittern in Harford Co., Maryland (5/14/2020). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

A Least Bittern in Harford Co., Maryland (5/7/2018). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Frederick Co., Maryland (5/20/2007). (c) Bill Hubick, all rights reserved. Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Harford Co., Maryland (5/4/2020). (c) mdhafner, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Matt Hafner. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Montgomery Co., Maryland (4/30/2022). (c) kbarylski, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by kbarylski via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Wicomico Co., Maryland (7/27/2008). (c) Bill Hubick, all rights reserved. Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Prince George's Co., Maryland (5/13/2023). (c) jugbayjs, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by jugbayjs via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Somerset Co., Maryland (5/19/2017). (c) Bill Hubick, all rights reserved. Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Prince George's Co., Maryland (5/10/2014). (c) jugbayjs, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by jugbayjs via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

A Least Bittern in Harford Co., Maryland (5/3/2014). Photo by Bill Keim. (MBP list)

A Least Bittern in Montgomery Co., Maryland (8/3/2019). Photo by Max Wilson. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Dorchester Co., Maryland (7/20/2016). (c) Frode Jacobsen, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Frode Jacobsen. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Somerset Co., Maryland (6/10/2022). (c) Jonathan Irons, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Jonathan Irons. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Dorchester Co., Maryland (7/5/2022). (c) david mlr, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by david_mlr via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Wicomico Co., Maryland (7/27/2008). (c) Bill Hubick, all rights reserved. Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Prince George's Co., Maryland (5/13/2023). (c) jugbayjs, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by jugbayjs via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Wicomico Co., Maryland (7/27/2008). (c) Bill Hubick, all rights reserved. Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Least Bittern in Howard Co., Maryland (7/16/2019). Photo by Anthony VanSchoor. (MBP list)

Least Bittern in Dorchester Co., Maryland (5/23/2021). (c) laurabankey, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by laurabankey via iNaturalist. (MBP list)


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