When approached by a parent to provide food, a nestling chick of the Japanese Night Heron Gorsachius goisagi twitched its wings and demanded food with its wings open and bent to the level of its head, and wing spurs raised (Fig. 1). The wing spur looked like a head, and the open wing looked like a second chick. Chicks usually opened a wing on one side, and sometimes opened both wings; these actions made the begging individual appear as two or three chicks demanding to be fed. Simultaneously with these actions it chattered intensely “gwaa gwaa”. The parent showed a marked tendency to give feeding priority to this chick. Although this behavior did not necessarily occur every time a provisioning parent visited a nest, it is considered that this behavior may bring two results. Firstly, by attracting the parent's attention, the chick would be able to get food earlier than other chicks in the nest, and secondly, by mimicking multiple hungry chicks, the behavior may stimulate the parent's food-providing activity. This behavior was documented at three nest locations, and was shown by chicks within the nest at from 29-days-old to fledging at 37 days, and thereafter for five days after fledging while receiving food outside the nest.
The spring migration flights of the Brown-eared Bulbul Hypsipetes amaurotis were observed on the shore of Lake Biwa at Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan, over thirty days between 12 April and 13 May, 2005. The relationship between migratory flight activity and weather conditions was investigated. A total of 142 flocks, consisting of 5,338 individuals, were observed during the study period. The maximum number of flocks (25) was recorded on 23 April and that of individuals (1,257) on 19 April. On fine and calm days, many migratory flocks were recorded, whereas few were evident on windy days. A negative correlation was detected between the number of migratory flocks and wind velocity. Moreover, many migratory flocks were observed in the morning, especially between 06 : 00 and 09 : 00. In contrast, the flights of resident birds were observed even on windy days and in the afternoon. The flight direction for migratory birds was concentrated toward the northeast, a direction parallel to the coastline of Lake Biwa, and migratory flocks may utilise the coastline of Lake Biwa as landmark.
Since 2002, we have observed gull flocks at Chijiwa Beach in Tachibana Bay, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. The gull flocks consist mainly of Black-tailed Gulls Larus crassirostris and Vega Gulls L. vegae. These gulls stay at the beach between October and March. The Vega Gull generally has pinkish legs, but within these flocks some gulls, which look like Vega Gulls, have yellowish legs. Between January 2005 and March 2007 we counted the adult gulls, excluding Black-tailed Gulls and Slaty-backed Gulls L. schistisagus, and calculated the ratio of gulls with yellowish legs in the flocks as being 12.4%. In addition, we attempted to identify these gulls with yellowish legs, using the following characters: body size comparison with Black-tailed Gulls, Vega Gulls or Slaty-backed Gulls; colour of the orbital ring and iris; the dark streaking pattern of head plumage; timing of the moult; mantle colour brightness (Kodak Gray Scale: GS); wing projection (Fig. 1: C); and wingtip pattern. In late January 2006 and 2007, and late February 2007, we selected three gulls and photographed them. Based on the respective combination of the characters listed above we identified one as L. heuglini heuglini, another as L. fuscus graellsii/intermedius, and the third as L. glaucoides kumlieni. Given that gulls with yellowish legs comprise 12.4% of the gulls at the beach, it seems probable that gulls related to the Vega Gull, such as L. heuglini and L. fuscus, more frequently migrate in the winter period than had hitherto been believed.
Many bird species utter a “whisper song” at the nest site, e.g., during nest relief. However, studies on the song and its function tend to be wholly descriptive, and very few quantitative analyses have been conducted. The male Grey Thrush Turdus cardis emits the whisper whistle song immediately before and after feeding his young. In this study, the male's behavior was examined in relation to the female's presence, for four nests. The male sang on 59.5% of the occasions immediately before arrival at the nest, and on 44.6% of the occasions immediately after departure. In most males, the frequency of singing before arrival did not relate to the presence of the female at the nest. However, on occasions when the male sang before arrival, the female tended to fly away before the male's arrival, suggesting that the song was used as a sign of nest relief. The male tended to sing immediately after departure more frequently when the female was absent from the nest than when she was present, although the singing did not affect the timing of the female's next arrival. According to observations made immediately before fledging, nestling activity was synchronized with the frequency of the male's singing behavior. Thrushes might be suitable subject species to study the role of songs within the family group.
This is a survey of the parasitic helminths of 71 individuals of 14 species of waterfowl belonging to the families Ardeidae, Rallidae, Scolopacidae and Phalaropodidae from Hokkaido, Japan, namely Ixobrychus eurhythmus, Nycticorax nycticorax, Bubulcus ibis, Ardea cinerea, Rallus aquaticus, Amaurornis phoenicurus, Fulica atra, Calidris alpina, Actitis hypoleucos, Numenius phaeopus, Scolopax rusticola, Gallinago gallinago, Gallinago hardwickii and Phalaropus lobatus. A total of 32 helminth species, including 11 nematodes (Capillaria sp., Amidostomum fulicae, Cyathostoma lari, Cyathostoma microspiculum, Contracaecum microcephalum, Porrocaecum reticulatum, Porrocaecum semiteres, Madelinema sp., Tetrameres scolopacis, Desportesius equispiculatus and Skrjabinoclava horrida), nine trematodes (Acanthoparyphium charadrii, Echinoparyphium recurvatum, Himasthla megacotyla, Prosthogonimus sp., Levinseniella conicostoma, Maritrema eroliae, Spelotrema longicolle, Allodiplostomum scolopacis and Apharyngostrigea ardeolina), eight cestodes (Diphyllobothrium sp., Ligula sp., Gryporhynchus nycticoracis, Trichocephaloides megalocephala, Choanotaenia macrocephala, Choanotaenia sp., Aploparaksis orientalis, and Aploparaksis scolopacis) and four acanthocephalans (Southwellina hispida, Arhythmorhynchus capellae, Corynosoma sp. and Plagiorhynchus (Prosthorhynchus) malayensis), were obtained and identified from 56.3% of the 71 hosts. No helminths were recovered found from R. aquaticus, A. hypoleucos and P. lobatus. Among the obtained helminths, C. lari, A. ardeolina and Ligula sp. from I. eurhythmus, Prosthogonimus sp. from A. phoenicurus, Capillaria sp., C. microspiculum and Madelinema sp., from S. rusticola, A. orientalis from G. hardwickii, and A. charadrii and L. conicostoma from C. alpina are the first host records worldwide. Additionally, C. lari, C. microspiculum, A. fulicae, P. semiteres, Madelinema sp., S. horrida, A. orientalis and P. (P.) malayensis were the first records of these species in Japan.
Thirty-eight individuals of the Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela perplexus Swann, 1922 collected between 2001 and 2009 from Yaeyama Archipelago, Okinawa, Japan, were investigated. A total of 11 helminth and two arthropod parasites, including seven nematodes (Eucoleus contortus, Baruscapillaria falconis, Aonchotheca caudinflata, Porrocaecum angusticolle, Procyrnea leptoptera, Microtetrameres accipiter and Synhimantus sp.), three trematodes (Basantisia ridwani, Strigea microbursa and Neodiplostomum georgesduboisi), an acanthocephalan (Centrorhynchus spilornae), a chewing louse (Craspedorrhynchus sp.) and a feather mite (Artamacarus sp.), were identified. Among these parasites, E. contortus, B. falconis, A. caudinflata, P. leptoptera, M. accipiter, Synhimantus sp. and Artamacarus sp. were the first host records for S. cheela, and all helminths and arthropods are the first host records from S. c. perplexus. With the exception of E. contortus, all helminths and arthropods were the first local records from the Yaeyama Archipelago.
The Japanese Night Heron Gorsachius goisagi occurs in the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, southern China, the Philippines and the Moluccas. It migrates to Japan at the beginning of April and its breeding has been confirmed only in Japan. Its detailed ecology was unknown and it was said to be a nocturnal species. Therefore, in order to clarify its daily behavior, I conducted a behavioral survey on one male and one female of the Japanese Night Heron in captivity in a hospital of a zoological garden from November to December 2008. I used a video tape recorder (VTR) and taped their movements for 24 consecutive hours for eight days and analyzed the video images. Activities such as foraging and walking on the ground were observed only in daytime and no activities were seen at night. During the night, they slept at a fixed roost without moving from it.
In September 2008, a newly dead Gray's Grasshopper Warbler Locustella fasciolata was found on a ferry sailing from Kyushu to Amami-Oshima Island, Japan. The bird was a first-year male in good physical condition, and is considered to have arrived on the ferry during that journey, although the exact time and location of arrival was not confirmed. The cause of the death was inferred to be a collision with the ferry, an event not influenced by bad weather. It is widely believed that a large number of birds are killed at sea during migration. The collation and study of information on dead birds found on ships might contribute towards an understanding of migration in these species.
The first records of Gray's Grasshopper Warbler Locustella fasciolata (three individuals) and Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata (three individuals) from Ehime Prefecture are reported, based upon bird banding research data and a collected carcass. Gray's Grasshopper Warbler was recorded in evergreen forest or bushes in September of three separate years, whereas the Lanceolated Warbler was recorded in beds in October of two years. These species are passage migrants in Ehime Prefecture.
To evaluate people's opinions concerning the release of the Japanese Crested Ibis Nipponia nippon, a questionnaire was mailed throughout Sado City, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. The 1,000 target individuals were selected randomly from within the 20 to 79 year age group. Results from the 591 respondents indicated almost 74% to have appreciated the release, and only 26% have neither agreed nor disagreed. The most common reason people gave for their appreciation was “they have lived here”, though only 16% of the people had actually seen the Japanese Crested Ibis in the wild. Their concerns related to the release were related mainly toward the success of the release rather than to any harm the birds might cause to crops. Especially, they worried about the released Japanese Crested Ibis survival. These results may be affected by the media like TV. Many people treated Japanese Crested Ibis as a local symbol, or a symbol of nature, and only a few viewed the bird as a potentially commercial venurte. Similar results were obtained from a questionnaire on the Oriental Storks Ciconia boyciana in Toyooka City. The releases in the past have been done far from the villages. This Japanese Crested Ibis release is the second case done near the villages, just after the release of the Oriental Storks. The sequential research will be done to compare the two questionnaires relating to the Oriental Stork and the Japanese Crested Ibis.
We have registered morphological specimens and materials for DNA analyses offered to the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology (YIO) since 1987. Initially, we registered bird carcasses for stuffed specimens and stuffed specimens donated to the YIO, in a series of notebooks. In the late 1990s, we began to collect tissue samples for DNA analyses. These samples were registered in another series of notebooks. From 2005, the information on bird carcasses was placed in a computer database, and tissue sample data integrated therein. Most of the bird carcasses were collected opportunistically throughout Japan, partly including banded birds with more information. From a bird carcass, a stuffed specimen and tissue samples (muscle and liver) were obtained, which are of use in DNA barcoding. The database software automatically allocated a unique accession number to each individual; this was supplemented with information on species name, collection locality and date, collector, donator and situations when collected. We took a series of standard measurements of each carcass (body weight, total length, wingspan, etc.), and then dissected it to record the reproductive organs. Subsequently, we prepared a museum specimen, mainly skin or skeleton, from the carcass. A label with a unique number with a prefix of YIO- was attached to each specimen. Each label included the following information: specimen number, accession number, species name, date, locality, sex, collector, donator and notes. As of March 2009, we have registered a total of 16,176 specimens, including 951 species, 115 families and 27 orders. The collection comprises 2,958 frozen carcasses, 6,529 specimens and 5,517 tissue samples. Shortage of space in the collection room and deep freezers is a persistent problem. It is necessary to establish a procedure to provide tissue samples for outside researchers.