Family Herons (Ardeidae)


White-eared Night-heron (Gorsachius magnificus)


French: Bihoreau superbe German: Hainanreiher Spanish: Martinete magnífico

Nycticorax magnificus


, 1899,

Five-finger Mountain, Hainan


Formerly treated in genus Calherodius. Monotypic.


E & S China, including Hainan I; recent records in N Hunan, N Hubei, NW Zhejiang, SW & SE Anhui, N & W Jiangxi, Guangxi, Xinping, N & C Guangdong, C Yunnan, N & E Fujian, SE Guizhou and SE Sichuan provinces#R. Also N Vietnam, where breeding recently confirmed#R, and Bihar, NE India, where status uncertain#R.

Descriptive notes

54–56 cm. White ear-coverts (separating black crown and black cheeks) and mottled white chin and throat, plus short bill, highly distinctive; compared to G.... read more


Described only very recently: the presumed territorial call is a a deep, throaty, raspy “whoaa”,... read more


Little known. Well-watered areas of heavy forest, including limestone areas, sometimes in bamboo,... read more

Food and feeding

Very little known. Presumably nocturnal, but some evidence of daytime activity. Recorded feeding alone or in pairs, almost always on ground... read more


Very little known. Few seasonal data, but chicks hatched in first half of May in China while chicks were ready to fledge by late Apr in... read more


Little known. The few data available suggest that N population moves S in Oct to winter in Hainan (... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Briefly considered Critically Endangered, but more than 30 localities (encompassing five provinces without previous records) have been tallied within the last... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). White-eared Night-heron (Gorsachius magnificus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 16 December 2019).