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a genus of birds of the family Ardeidae. The body length measures 35-38 cm. The ochre and red tones of the plumage camouflage the bird in dry thickets, especially if it takes on a protective pose—stretches itself vertically and stands motionless.
The genus comprises seven species, which are distributed in temperate and tropical zones. There are three species in the USSR: the little bittern (I. minutus) in the west (as far as Biisk), Schrenk’s little bittern (I. eurhythmus) in the Amur Region and Primor’e, and the Chinese little, or yellow, bittern (I. sinensis) on the island of Kunashir and on southern Sakhalin.
The birds settle in individual pairs in thickets along bodies of water. The nests are in reeds, in high grasses, or sometimes on trees. Three to nine eggs are laid per clutch, and both parents incubate them for about 20 days. The Ixobrychus feed on small fish, on frogs, on insects, and on mollusks.