The little bittern or common little bittern (Ixobrychus minutus) is the smallest European heron. The It inhabits lakeshores, ponds or oxbow lakes that are densely fringed with reeds and bulrushes, and generally remains unobserved. It mostly keeps to the edges of reedbeds and breeds in Africa, central and southern Europe, western and southern Asia, and Madagascar. There are three subspecies identified by their location; Ixobrychus minutus minutus is found in northern Africa, Europe and Asia; Ixobrychus minutus payesii is located in Africa below the Sahara; and Ixobrychus minutus podiceps is to be found on the island of Madagascar. It is migratory, and will travel from its cooler European or Asian home further south into Africa and southern Asia.