2013 Volume 62 Issue 2 Pages 143-152
A large number of Common Reed Buntings Emberiza schoeniclus with abnormal tail feathers were during autumn and winter 2011/2012 in Japan (767 of 5,541 individuals, 13.8%), these were largely juveniles (97.3%). The morphology of the abnormal tail feathers was classified into three categories: A) Holes (45.9%; some small holes were found in feathers, and barbs were lost); B) Maldevelopment (elongation or under-development, 14.5%; elongated feathers averaged 5.0±3.0 mm (±standard deviation) longer than conjugate normal feathers and underdeveloped feathers averaged 5.8±3.1 mm shorter); and C) Mixed (intermediate between the former two categories) (39.6%). Type A feathers were often found among the three pairs of tail feathers from the center outwards and type B feathers were very often found in the two pairs. Such abnormal tail feathers were also found in three other species of Emberiza: Meadow Bunting E. cioides (4 of 91 individuals, 4.4%), Rustic Bunting E. rustica (3 of 229 individuals, 1.3%), and Black-faced Bunting E. spodocephala (16 of 1,066 individuals, 1.5%).