Malayan Night Heron catches an earthworm II

on 14th December 2009

An earlier post reports the sighting of the Malayan Night Heron (Gorsachius melanolophus), also known as Malaysian Night Heron, in Singapore recently. It was observed picking up an earthworm.

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Dr Jonathan WK Cheah observed and documented a juvenile stalking its prey, pulling the earthworm from its burrow and expertly manipulating the wriggling worm into its mouth (above, below left).

The Malayan Night Heron is medium-sized, standing about 47cm tall. It is nocturnal and found in forests. The juvenile is greyish-brown with black and white spots, and its underparts are streaked. The adult has a black crown, reddish-brown face and neck, dark reddish-brown underparts with fine streaks and black wings. The adult is extremely skittish, photographed at a different location (Bidadari) on the 24th November 2009 (above right).

The heron is distributed in south, east and southeast Asia, breeding in India, China and the Philippines. Widespread throughout its large range, it is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

4 Responses

  1. Spotted a juvenile Malayan Night Heron at SBG Ginger Garden (the forested patch behind the waterfall) on 14 Dec 2009 around 2:40 pm. It was foraging and saw it hunted a long earth worm from the ground.

  2. Wow. Sighted in 3 different locations – West, East & now Central of Singapore.

    Is this still considered as a rare winter visitor and passage migrant? Seems not so rare afterall.

  3. Earlier posts reported that there are more juvenile tiger shrikes arriving than adults.

    Interesting that the malayan night heron’s arrival pattern looks similar:- more juveniles than adults.

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