Japanese Night-heron

East Asia


Gorsachius goisagi


  • Habitat loss
  • Limited food source
  • Nest predation

The Japanese Night Heron is a nocturnal bird type that lives in East Asia. During spring and summer season, it can be found in Korea and the Russian Far East. While Japan is its breeding grounds, its wintering grounds are in the Philippines and Indonesia.

For its breeding and non-breeding ranges, it prefers to stay in dense, coniferous and broad-leaved forests that are near freshwater areas. In the winter season, it stays near rivers and streams of dark and deeply shaded forests in hills and mountains. Its wingspan is between 43cm and 47cm while plumage colours vary from juvenile herons to adult herons. Its most distinct physical characteristic is the black-hued, irregularly-shaped lines on its covert feathers and wings. Its thick beak is useful for digging food out of the ground ranging from snails and earthworms to insects and small invertebrates. It also hunts small fishes and crustaceans in shallow waters in swamps and rice paddies.

This nocturnal heron species is very shy and is difficult to see unless during migration season in its open habitat. It emits a hooting sound at regular intervals in the early evening.

Deforestation is the biggest contributing factor for its rapid population decline. It severely affects their regular nesting and breeding habits while limiting its food sources as well. This also exposes the Japanese Night Heron to nest predators such as crows and Siberian weasels as well as bird hunters.