Ixobrychus Billberg, Syn. Faun. Scan., i, p. 166 (1828).
Type, by desig., Ardea minuta Linn.
In this genus of the smaller Herons or Bitterns the bill is straight and slender; the culmen flat at the base with a broad shallow groove on each side of the upper mandible; the tarsus is rather short, equal to about two-thirds of the culmen; the back of the neck is almost denuded of feathers, though this is concealed by the feathers of the side of the neck; the head is crested and the feathers of the upper breast very soft and lax; there are no dorsal or scapulary long plumes; the tail is short and of ten feathers only.
The genus is almost cosmopolitan, though not present in Northern parts.
Key to Species.
A. Tibia feathered down to joint of tibiotarsus.
a. Culmen about equal to mid-toe and claw……………I. minuta, p. 364.
b. Culmen longer than mid-toe and claw……………I. sinensis, p. 365.
B. Tibia naked for some distance above joint……………I. cinnamomeus, p. 367.