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Malayan Night Heron - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Malay Night Heron

Photo by Mark Bruce
Chaiyi, Taiwan, November 2004
Gorsachius melanolophus


45-49 cm (17¾-19¼ in)

  • Dark reddish-brown and black heron
  • Black cap and crest
  • White-tipped primaries
  • Chestnut-barred upperparts
  • Olive feet and bill


Patchy range in India and South-East Asia.

Breeds in two separate areas of India, in the Western Ghats from Belgaum southwards in south-west India and in the north-east in Assam and Manipur. Also breeds in scattered areas of Burma, Thailand, Indochina, China (including Hong Kong and Hainan) and further south in Malaya, the Nicobar Islands, eastern Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Philippines. Some birds are resident on the southern Ryukyu Islands of Japan, and in Taiwan.

Photo by SeeToh
Tuas South, Singapore, December 2015

South-west Indian birds winter in the highlands of Sri Lanka and arrive October-November and those from north-east India move south-west into Burma and Thailand in August-October.

It is related to, but distinct from, the Japanese Night Heron.



Two subspecies are recognized[1].


Streams in dense hill forest, lowland swamps.



Their diet consists of beetles and other insects, earthworms, frogs, lizards, molluscs, snakes and possibly small fish.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved December 2015)

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.