A rare migratory bird has been seen in the Japanese Garden.

The male Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus) was passing through in May to mate in more northern parts of Europe. It was noticed during a nighttime survey of other creatures in the Garden. It was the first observation of the species in the Principality.

The species makes the return trip to sub-Saharan Africa in August or September. Its natural habitat is swamps, marshes and other reedy places.

The little bittern photographed by the Department of the Environment team

The smallest European heron feeds on insects and small reptiles and amphibians.

The Japanese Garden provides an ideal nighttime environment for the little bittern, between the Mareterra development and Sass Cafe.

MAIN PHOTO: A male little bittern Shutterstock