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Dwarf Bittern - BirdForum Opus

Photo by the late Jan Van den Broeck
Niokolo Koba, Senegal, July 2003
Ixobrychus sturmii


  • Dark slate grey back
  • Blue lores and orbital skin
  • Pink edge to wings
  • Red iris


Sub-Saharan Africa. Breeds from Senegal east to Ethiopia and south, mainly through the eastern half of Africa, to the Cape. Absent from the arid areas of the south-west. Generally rare and seldom seen.

A partial migrant occurring in the northern part of the range during the May-September wet season. An extremely rare vagrant to the Western Palearctic and recorded only in the Canary Islands. There are four acceptable records, although the first two of these, both from Tenerife, one in the late 19th Century and the other in the 1970s, have yet to be ratified by the relevant recording bodies. The first accepted record was a bird photographed on Gran Canaria in January 2000. The most recent was a bird photographed at Erjos on Tenerife in August 2002 and present until April 2003.

In addition there have been several unsubstantiated reports from Lanzarote and Allegranza and a 19th century record of two birds shot in France. This record is assumed to have involved escaped birds.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Densely vegetated margins of lakes and ponds, swamps and riverbanks.


Often nocturnal.


  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  2. Graybirds

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