Monday, December 21, 2009

Taiwan's Malayan Night Herons

Malayan Night Heron (Gorsachius melanolophus) is a non-endemic lifer for me during my birding trip in Taiwan. This bird is easy to see in Taiwan, it can easily be found in the gardens or parks in Taipei city. Before viewing their pictures, let's study this beautiful bird closer.

Let's start with the head, it has a pair of beautiful eyes, strong bill, and crest.

now look at the crest, a stylish hair style, anyone is interested to have this cutting?

Let's see the wing, wow.. marvelous pattern, I wish I could have that pair of wings and fly away to Taiwan again, perhaps.

now, let's take a look of the front, wow.. luxury coat...

and with a pair of sexy legs...
Enough, cannot show any further, that will be private.

Now, let's take a look at the beautiful pictures of Malayan Night Heron that I sighted in Taiwan. Places where I spotted and digiscoped the Malayan Night Heron are shown as follows:

Buddhist temple, Puli, Nantou county, 11-Nov-2009 :

Taipei Botanic Gardens, Taipei city, 14-Nov-2009:

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Park, Taipei city, 14-Nov-2009:

Yangmingshan Park, Taipei county, 16-Nov-2009. It was dark at 5pm local time, and higher ISO 400 was used:

Da'an Park in Taipei city, 23-Nov-2009:

This picture is to show the feeding behavior of the Malayan Night Heron. It is a secretive and nocturnal or crepuscular bird, it likes foraging food during dusk and dawn, usually in the dark or shady areas in the parks, gardens or open field. Its main diets are ground worm, insects, small reptiles and amphibians.

I noticed that it has a pair of sharp eyes or a very sensitive bill for sensing the ground worm, the catch was very sharp and accurate. This picture was taken at Yangmingshan Park at 5pm local time. It was dark but with the dim light from the street lamp, was digiscoped with ISO 400 and lower shutter speed. The bird can still sense and see the big ground worm, and managed to pull it out from the ground and consumed it. Amazing!

I wonder why this species is also known as Malaysian Night Heron, even though it is a rare migrant and also not an endemic species of Malaysia.

Do you think it should be renamed as Taiwanese Night Heron, or simply Malayan Night Heron? names that are more appropriate than Malaysian Night Heron, otherwise it is very misleading.

Let me know what is your thought about the naming of this species? please comment.

What is Night Heron?
There are two generas of Night Heron: the Gorsachius and Nycticorax. In Chinese, they are named differently, the Gorsachius as Yan 鳽 or Malu 麻鹭, and Nycticorax as Yelu 夜鹭The Malayan Night Heron is grouped in the genus Gorsachius, together with the Japanese Night Heron and White-eared Night Heron (or Hainanese Night Heron). The Malayan Night Heron is known as Heiguan Yan 黑冠鳽 in China and as Heiguan Malu 黑冠麻鹭 in Taiwan.


  1. Well done. A rather creative way to introduce this bird, which I agree should have a change of name as it is relatively hard to spot in Malaysia, while so easy to see in Taiwan.

  2. Yes, Taiwan provides me a very good opportunity to study this bird, they are almost everywhere in Taipei. I have a memorable visit to Taiwan.

  3. exactly...
    I'm a research officer in USM and my supervisor in a very keen birder..recently we found a small number of this bird in USM's arboretum, and we were kind of excited... it's a rare sighting of course. but others didn't share our excitement simply because they believe the name - 'Malaysian N H' means its a common bird in Malaysia.!!

  4. Hi adriwkiut, Thank you for the alert, I will go and find the bird, must be in the USM lake garden or the big field, I'm very interested to see this bird in Malaysia for the first time, interested to see the differences. I was very embarrassed when I was in Taiwan, the birders there were shocked when I said I haven't seen this bird in Malaysia, they thought this is a common bird in Malaysia.

  5. ooo... then if u'r in Penang, try ask for en Adenan Jaafar, he already retired but now still working as a research officer in Eco-Hub USM.he is also a herb specialist.knows everything about every tree and birds in USM..we found MNH at Durian Valley, a small forest inside USM Minden.