Striated Heron on Christmas Island today was a new taxa to Australia.

Subject: Striated Heron on Christmas Island today was a new taxa to Australia.
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Sun, 17 May 2009 22:45:17 +1000
The Forest Wagtail reported by Richard Baxter earlier wasn't the only new taxa 
for Australian territory found on Christmas Island today by Lisa Preston. We 
also received photos of a heron she couldn't identify. My reply is copied below

The Heron,

This is a Striated Heron Butorides striata AKA by many other names including 
Green-backed Heron Ardeola striatus etc. This species has a world-wide 
distribution including Australia. There are 30 races or subspecies. The race 
I've seen on Christmas Island when I could determine subspecies (there are 
usually one or two around), is B. s. javanicus which breeds throughout SE Asia 
and the Greater Sundas just to the north of CI. I have not seen one that looks 
like your today's bird on CI or anywhere on mainland Australia where from two 
to five races are recognised. Your bird is very distinctive in two ways. The 
pattern of white stripes on the face, throat, foreneck and bend of wing and its 
substantial crest. Our birds don't have a crest. These characters fit the race 
amurensis which breeds in Japan, Korea, and adjacent areas of China but winters 
in SE Asia. But the underparts of that race are grey like the upperparts 
whereas on your bird the underparts are buff. So I wonder whether it could be 
the race actophilus which breeds in southern China and also winters in SE Asia. 
I don't know what that race looks like but since its range abuts that of 
amurensis, I imagine they may share some characters. This is a new taxa for 
Australia so should be written up. So some better photos will be most useful.

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
Tel  (03) 9787 7136

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