Endangered Japanese Night Heron Chick Doing Well in Tochigi

Courtesy of Nasu Animal Kingdom
A Japanese night heron chick, right, that hatched in July at Nasu Animal Kingdom in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture

NASU, Tochigi — A Japanese night heron chick hatched in July at Nasu Animal Kingdom in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture. The baby bird eats food provided by its parents and occasionally peers out of the nest, a reassuring sight for visitors.

The Japanese night heron, an endangered species, is a migratory bird that lives in the Philippines and other parts of the world. They migrate to Japan in the summer, and most of them breed in Japan. Covered in brown, tree-like feathers, they are also called “ninjas of the forest” because of their inconspicuous appearance.

To conserve the species, Nasu Animal Kingdom accepted one male and one female Japanese night heron from another facility in 2021. In June last year, they had their first breeding success when two birds hatched, but one of them died. However, a chick hatched last month, marking the second consecutive year of successful breeding and bringing the total of Japanese night herons at the facility to four.

“The Japanese night heron breeds almost exclusively in Japan, so it is important to protect the domestic environment for them. We will continue our efforts to conserve them and raise awareness,” a zoo official said.