Striated Heron on Christmas Island today was a newtaxa to Australia.

Subject: Striated Heron on Christmas Island today was a newtaxa to Australia.
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Sun, 17 May 2009 23:33:33 +1000
Reading my message as it came back to me I should say that I meant to write 'Our birds don't have such a SUBSTANTIAL crest'

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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