Breeding biology of the little bittern Ixobrychus minutus in the Ebro Delta (NE Spain)

Authors: Fabricio PARDO-CERVERA, Iben Hove SØRENSEN, Cristian JENSEN, Xavier RUIZ and Cristina SÁNCHEZ-ALONSO


Published: Volume 57(2), December 2010. Pages 407-416.

Language: English

Keywords: age estimation, breeding biology, breeding success, brood parasitism, diet, Ebro Delta, Ixobrychus minutus and little bittern


This study contributes the first data on several aspects of the breeding biology of the little bittern Ixobrychus m. minutus in the Ebro Delta (NE Spain). An analysis of the aggregation pattern of nesting pairs supports a non-colonial nesting behaviour. The incorporation of the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii in the diet of the chicks is documented for the first time. An equation for the estimation of chick age is proposed, based on wing length. The second case of inter-specific brood parasitism ever documented for this species is also presented.

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