© A Breakfast Date With Malayan Night-heron in Taiwan

“There were more than three located sightings of Malayan Night Herons (Gorsachius melanophus) during my April 2015 visit to Taiwan.

“Let’s visit NTU (National Taiwan University) to meet Logan – a well-respected veteran bird foraged for its ‘daily bread’ breakfast (above).

“On campus grounds, Logan-the ‘Vice-Chancellor’ is an important bird given priority usage over other campus users and visitors as seen on this notice board (above).

“Tagged with multiple bracelets on its ankles, the 47-51cm, top ranking Malayan Night Heron appeared in view and strolled slowly and soundlessly towards a bed of begonia blooms (above).

“Circumventing the floral bed, the vermin specialist appearing institutionalised and accustomed to a daily routine, was quick to pull out a soil embedded earthworm (above).

“Eyesight and hearing must be extra-ordinary for this category family group of bird species – Ardeidae; for the manner in which they foraged their prey by stalking, freeze- on- spot and rapid neck extension and retraction to spear and pincer their catch.

“Something caught Logan’s eye at pavement edge. Moving towards it, the bird listened, looked intently and snared a fat, juicy vermin (above).

“Earthworm was determined to cling on for life. Logan tugged and tugged but slimy slipped from his smudged bill of grass (above).

“Persistence paid off and Logan managed to pull breakfast out whole and immobilized vermin by a suffocating bill pinch (above).

“This was followed by vigorous shaking of Logan’s head, spinning the lights out of vermin who finally succumbed, lay lifeless and stretched out hanging from the jaws of the predatory bird (above).

“Having immobilized the earthworm, breakfast was had by slurping up the remains in a jiffy (above).

“It did not end there but an interesting observation issued. The Night-Heron side- swayed its neck in an involuntary slithering manner as though to assist in propelling vermin to its digestive doom (above).

“Images 4th to 10th (from top) are extracts taken from videography.

“In a separate location, closed up foraging opportunities were had of a resident Malayan Night-Heron pulling out a slimy earthworm ….just a lunch snack as it swerved its neck to a similar repertoire (above).

Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
Penang, Malaysia

Copyright article and all image copies – Courtesy of Daisy O’Neill Bird Conservation Fund.

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