The scientific names and taxonomy adopted by the Check-List of Japanese Birds 7th edition published in 2012 was reviewed for 154 taxa belonging to15 families in the order Passeriformes, focusing on discrepancies from the 6th edition and the IOC World Bird List, mainly in light of the latest molecular phylogeny. Fifty taxa differed from the 6th edition and twenty-five taxa differed from the IOC list. Whereas the majority of the taxa in the 7th edition reflected the latest molecular phylogeny, some taxa in the Fringillidae and Corvidae did not. In the Fringillidae, Carduelis spinus should be moved to the genus Spinus, and C. flammea and C. hornemanni should be moved to the genus Acanthis. The range of Corvus corone is questionable, and the taxonomy of Pica pica and related taxa should be reconsidered. Molecular phylogenetic studies, published since the 7th edition, have advocated different names for Paridae and Fringillidae than those adopted by the 7th edition. It is advocated that Poecile varius should be moved to the genus Sittiparus and that two subspecies are elevated to full species. Both Uragus sibiricus and Chaunoproctus ferreorostris are to be moved to the genus Carpodacus. Passer rutilans should be renamed Passer cinnamomeus based on the Principle of Priority, although that is not a taxonomic subject. We were unable to give the correct spelling for Artamus leucorynchus because of a loophole in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. In past editions of the check list of Japanese birds, many taxa have been considered to be junior synonyms and removed from the list, without sufficient scientific evidence. Therefore, the check list of Japanese birds may be revised on a large scale in the future.
In order to observe the process of acquiring new breeding territories by Northern Goshawks Accipiter gentilis, we followed individual movements by using radio tracking. One adult and three juvenile goshawks were captured and fitted with transmitters in northwestern Saitama Prefecture (Honjo hillside), Honshu. Changes in home range size, and competition among the four males were observed through to first breeding. Two of the juveniles established breeding territories when one year old, the third established a territory as a two-year-old. All three established breeding territories in the area they had inhabited prior to breeding. The home ranges of the juveniles were 2-12 times larger than that of the adult, and overlapped with each other before they first bred. At the begining of their first breeding season, the sizes of their territories, and the extent to which they overlapped, decreased. Furthermore, their behavior towards the adult male also changed. Before the young birds began breeding they avoided the area around the adult's nest, and the adult male had the advantage in inter-male competition. The adult made territorial display flights signaling the start of his breeding season, whereas the juveniles did not display while they were single. After maturing, each of the three young birds also displayed over their territories. Our results show that young male goshawks colonize new areas during their first winter and establish breeding territories within their home range until they mature. We believe this to be the first report to reveal the process of breeding territory formation in the Northern Goshawk by tracking individual movements and observing male behavior.
I compared the foraging sites of Black Dryocopus martius and White-backed Dendrocopos leucotos woodpeckers and developed methods to distinguish between them during winter. Only D. martius foraged on conifer tree species. The DBH of trees used for foraging by D. martius were larger than those used by D. leucotos. Foraging rates on dead wood, including snags and logs, were similar for both species; however, only D. martius foraged on live trunks, whereas D. leucotos foraged on mostly dead branches. D. martius pecked off larger wood chips and bark pieces while foraging than did D. leucotos. The widths of beak marks left at foraging sites were indications of woodpecker species; they did not vary with sex, hardness of wood chips, or tree species. The widths of beak marks (sampled from foraging trees) were 4-7 mm for D. martius and 2-5 mm for D. leucotos. Thus beak marks of more than 6 mm were those of D. martius. When three beak marks were sampled from a foraging site, the median width of D. martius was 4-6 mm compared with 2-4 mm for D. leucotos. Therefore, beak marks of more than 5 mm were left only by D. martius. The probability that the median width (of three beak marks) of D. martius' beak marks at a foraging site is more than 5 mm is estimated to be 0.904 with 95% percentile confidence interval (0.788-0.988) by bootstrapping. To distinguish between D. martius and D. leucotos foraging sites, a tree-based model was used. The first node classified the largest wood chips more than 13 as foraging sites of D. martius. The next node confirmed that live trunks were the foraging sites of D. martius and that dead branches and trunks, and live branches were the foraging sites of D. leucotos. Measurements of museum specimens confirmed that the bill of D. martius is larger than that of D. leucotos.
The Izumi Plain has long been a globally important wintering site for Hooded Crane Grus monacha and White-naped Crane G. vipio. Crane mortality was examined and postmortem findings described. Among Grus monacha, juvenile mortality (from October 2003 to April 2014) was higher than for adults. Postmortems performed on 93 carcasses collected from October 2009 to April 2014 allowed classification of causes of death as natural, accidental, or unidentified. Crane deaths were also categorized by species, age, and year. Sixty percent of G. monacha died of natural causes (such as disease); however, 63.6% of G. vipio died as a result of accidental factors such as collisions.
To facilitate conservation plans to protect a goose roost, we used a UAV to photograph water areas and roosting geese at Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma, where lotus plants have been spreading, in order to estimate the carrying capacity of the roost. No geese were observed to become alert during the descent of the UAV. Ninety-seven percent of 1,540 geese selected open water without lotus for roosting. Based on the mutual distance (1.2-1.3 m) between the geese and the number of geese roosting on the lake, the area of open water suitable for roosting was estimated at 13.3-18.9 ha, which amounted to 22.9-32.5% of the total area of open water without lotus on the lake.