Chinese Pond Heron on the coast
These were quite common along the beach where our hotel was on Tioman Island in Malaysia, so much so that I didn't really take them very seriously (since there are several other small heron species in the region) but took a few photos from the pool anyway. Imagine my surprise when I was looking at my photos trying to identify everything and discovered that this was a new bird species for me (a so-called "Life Bird" in birder parlance). Together with the Javan and Indian Pond herons, it forms what is know as a Superspecies - several species that are very closely related.
The Chinese pond heron is an East Asian freshwater bird of the heron family. It is one of six species of birds known as "pond herons" . It is parapatric with the Indian pond heron to the west and the Javan pond heron to the south, and these three are presumed to form a superspecies. As a group they are variously affiliated with the squacco heron or the Malagasy pond heron . As of mid-2011 there are no published molecular analyses of pond heron interrelationships and osteological data is likewise.. more