A heron (Aves: Ardeidae) from the Early Miocene St Bathans fauna of southern New Zealand. In Proceedings of the VII International Meeting of the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution, ed. W.E. Boles and T.H. Worthy
We describe a fossil heron, based on seven fossil bones, from the Early Miocene Bannockburn Formation at Saint Bathans, Central Otago in the south of New Zealand. Based on a phylogenetic analysis of 50 morphological characters, we determine the new heron is a member of Ardeidae but, in an analysis where we retrieve three major lineages in Ardeidae: (1) bitterns, (2) egrets and true herons, and (3) night herons, there is no support for a sister group relationship with any of these clades. We discuss aspects of the higher taxonomy of the herons based on our phylogeny.