Malayan night heron

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Malayan night heron
Malayan Night-Heron - Taiwan S4E8695 (17320173361).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Ardeidae
Genus: Gorsachius
G. melanolophus
Binomial name
Gorsachius melanolophus
(Raffles, 1822)
Gorsachius melanolophus map.svg
Range of G. melanolophus      Breeding range     Resident range     Wintering range

The Malayan night heron (Gorsachius melanolophus), also known as Malaysian night heron and tiger bittern,[2] is a medium-sized heron. It is distributed in southern and eastern Asia.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Malayan night heron has been found in India, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. It is a vagrant in Christmas Island and Palau.[1] Its range size is estimated at 1,240,000 km2.[1] This bird occurs in forests, streams, and marshes.[3]


The Malayan night heron is about 48 cm (19 in) long.[4] The wingspan is about 86 cm (34 in).[5] It is stocky, with a short beak. Its neck and breast are rufous. There are streaks going down the centre of the neck to the breast.[4] The upperparts are chestnut and vermiculated. The flight feathers are blackish.[4] The crown is black, the chin is white, and the eyes are yellow.[6] The beak is black and the legs are greenish.[5] The juvenile is greyish to rufous and is spotted and vermiculated.[3]

Malayan night heron (Gorsachius melanolophus)


The Malayan night heron is usually solitary. It roosts in trees and feeds in open areas.[4] Its territorial call is deep oo notes.[4] It also produces hoarse croaks and arh, arh, arh.[6] The most common food items are earthworms and frogs, and it will sometimes eat fish.[7] A study of its pellets found reptiles, snails, chilopods, arachnids, crabs and insects.[8]


The bird has a large range and its global population is between 2,000 and 20,000 individuals. Its population trend is not known, but it does not meet the criteria for a vulnerable species status.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d BirdLife International (2012). "Gorsachius melanolophus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Malayan Night-Heron". Birding in Taiwan. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b Grimmett, Richard; Inskipp, Carol; Inskipp, Tim (2013). Birds of the Indian Subcontinent. Bloomsbury. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-4081-6264-4.
  4. ^ a b c d e Jeyarajasingam, Allen; Pearson, Alan (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-1996-3942-7.
  5. ^ a b Kennedy, Robert (2000). A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines. Oxford University Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-1985-4668-9.
  6. ^ a b MacKinnon, John; Phillipps, Karen (2000). A Field Guide to the Birds of China. Oxford University Press. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-1985-4940-6.
  7. ^ Chang, C. (2000). Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus breeding in immature plumage. Forktail 16 167-8. Downloaded on 26 August 2010.
  8. ^ Kawakami, Kazuto; Fujita, Masaki; Hasegawa, Motohiro; Makahira, Hiroshi (2011). "Dietary characteristics of the Malayan Night Heron (Gorsachius melanolophus) in the Yaeyama Islands, southern Japan". Chinese Birds. 2 (2): 87–93. doi:10.5122/cbirds.2011.0015.

External links[edit]