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Tom Tarrant Friday 9th December 2005 10:20

Mystery birds on Cocos Islands
Don Hadden, a bird-photographer currently resident on the Cocos Islands (in the Indian Ocean) has just sent me several images of birds that could be rarities for the Australian region. I believe one may be a juvenile Rosy Starling (Sturnus roseus) and another might be a Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes).
There is also a possibility that the latter could be a hybrid.

We would be grateful for any comments regarding the ID of these two birds.

Images can be seen on the ABID at:


JANJ Friday 9th December 2005 21:48

Difficult, the only thing I can contribute to is this:, if you haven´t already seen it?

The Pacific Reef below looks very similar to the mystery bird, except the greenish legs and shorther neck plumes. Both has shaggy crests in breeding plumage, but it seems as pacific has shorter crest.


J Jones Friday 9th December 2005 21:52

The Rosy Starling is indeed a Rosy Starling by the way! Unless its an illusion!

Tom Tarrant Saturday 10th December 2005 03:08

3 Attachment(s)
Hi JanJ,

Must admit I agree with you, though I haven't seen an image of a Pacific that shows plumes like the one in the head-shot.
I have attached 2 dark-phase and one probable white-phase Reef-Egrets (all taken by Don around the same time)
Also see


JANJ Saturday 10th December 2005 17:07

Looking at the image:, it seems abnormal in that the upper mandible has grown longer than the under. which gives the impression of being longer than it really is. Looking at several images of the two, it seems that Chinese has a more pointed bill and it looks more slender, compared to Pacific Reef. It also looks as if the bill of Chinese is as long, or shorther than the tibia. Would a Little Egret mix be to far out?


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