Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Malayan night heron

Thai: นกยางลายเสือ, nok yaang lai seua

Binomial name: Gorsachius melanolophus, Thomas Stamford Raffles, 1822

The Malayan night heron (Gorsachius melanolophus) also known as Malaysian night heron, is a medium-sized heron. It is distributed in southern and eastern Asia, breeding in India, Taiwan, China, and the Philippines.


The Malayan night heron stands about 47 cm tall. The adult is reddish brown with streaked underparts, black underwings, and a black crown. The lores are blue but can vary in colour after moulting. The sexes are similar, but the male may have a darker crest and some birds, especially females, may retain juvenile plumage. The juvenile is greyish brown with black and white spots, and its underparts are streaked.


This bird occurs in subtropical and tropical swamps, streams, and marshes, especially in regions with high rainfall. It nests in forests in trees and bamboo, and forages in open areas. The most common food items are earthworms and frogs, and it will sometimes eat fish.


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.

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Scientific classification

Gorsachius melanolophus

Common names

  • Thai: นกยางลายเสือ, nok yaang lai seua

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Malayan night heron, Gorsachius melanolophus in Thailand

Range map of Gorsachius melanolophus in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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