Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Malaysian night heron

Gorsachius melanolophus, Thomas Stamford Raffles, 1822

(In Thai: นกยางลายเสือ)

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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Category / Seasonal Status

BCST Category: Recorded in an apparently wild state within the last 50 years

BCST Seasonal statuses:

  • Resident or presumed resident
  • Non-breeding visitor

Scientific classification

Gorsachius melanolophus

Common names

  • Thai: นกยางลายเสือ

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


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Malayan night heron
Malayan night heron
Malayan night heron

Range Map

Distribution map of Malaysian night heron, Gorsachius melanolophus in Thailand
  • Bangkok Province
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Khitchakut National Park
  • Khao Luang National Park
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Pu - Khao Ya National Park
  • Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khlong Nakha Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khuan Khanun District, Phatthalung
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Pak Thale
  • Phu Toei National Park
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • Tarutao National Marine Park
Range map of Gorsachius melanolophus in Thailand