Identification: The Little Bittern can be a difficult bird to locate since it spends much of its time hidden in dense reedbeds. Occasionally though it pops up and skims hurriedly over the top of the reeds showing the strikingly pale panels of its upperwing. When a Little Bittern does drop back into the reeds it may still perch prominently, showing off its dark cap and pale body as well as the pale wing coverts. Birds in full breeding plumage show a distinct red tinge to the bill.
Habitat: Breeds in reedbeds around lakes, dykes and fishponds
Distribution: Rare vagrant to the UK, although has it nested. 336 records in Britain and Ireland until the end of 1995 at places such as Potteric Carr, Yorkshire in 1984.
Present in hundreds of wetland sites throughout central and southern Europe but they can be very difficult to find. They are, however, exceptionally numerous and easy to spot at the Encannyisada Lagoon on the Ebro Delta (Spain), Enisala (Romania) and the fishponds north of Lake Prespa (Macedonia).
Population: The European population is estimated at between 30,000-40,000 pairs. Russian population 10000-50000 Turkish population 1000-10000