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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Least Bittern - Ixobrychus exilis

Native Species
Accidental Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: SNA

Agency Status


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Copyright by: The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, all rights reserved.
General Description
The Least Bittern breeds from southeast Canada through the U.S. and Mexico. Populations west of the Mississippi River are discontinuous and concentrated in low-lying areas of the Central Valley and Modoc Plateau of California, Klamath and Malheur Basins of Oregon, and along the Colorado River of southwest Arizona and southeast California (Poole et al. 2009). In Montana, the Least Bittern is an accidental species (Montana Bird Distribution Committee 2012).

For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.

Species Range

Western Hemisphere Range


Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 4

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density


SUMMER (Feb 16 - Dec 14)
Direct Evidence of Breeding

Indirect Evidence of Breeding

No Evidence of Breeding

WINTER (Dec 15 - Feb 15)
Regularly Observed

Not Regularly Observed


(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

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Citation for data on this website:
Least Bittern — Ixobrychus exilis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from