The Carrion Crow Corvus corone has two distinct social types: territorial pairs and flocks of non-territorial individuals. The foraging area and roost utilization of territorial and non-territorial individuals were studied in Ina Basin from 20 March 1992 to 31 December 1993. To study behavior at the individual level, I banded 96 non-territorial birds (1 year old=30, over 2 years old=66) and in addition attached radio transmitters to 10 of them. Territorial individuals defended their territories with their partners. The teeritorial pattern was stable throughout the year. Non-territorial individuals formed flocks and foraged in areas of farmlands and riverbed which were not occupied by territorial pairs, and shifted foraging areas seasonally. Territorial birds could become non-territorial if their territory was taken over by other crows. Radio-tracking studies showed that non-territorial birds changed roost sites during the study period. Most non-territorial individuals were sexually immature. I conclude that young birds of both sexes change foraging areas and roosts to increase the chance of becoming territory owners and live in flocks only until they can acquire a breeding territory.
Data on the breeding ecology of Tibetan Partridges (Perdix hodgsoniae) were collected in shrub environments near Lhasa, Tibet, during 1999-2001. Partridge flocks broke up in mid-March and individuals typically formed socially monogamous pair bonds. During daily activities the both members of the pair were close to each other, with 73.5% of observed individual distances less than 2m. The egg-laying period extended from late May to late June. Average egg size was 16.1 (±SE=0.2) g in mass and 39.2 (±0.1)×28.1(±0.1) mm in dimension. Average clutch size was 8.3 (±0.8, range 5-12) The partridge produced larger eggs and smaller clutches than its two congener species, Grey Partridge (P. perdix) and Daurian Partridge (P. dauuricae). Incubation lasted about 23 days, and 44.4% of clutches successfully hatched. Vegetation characteristics were the most important determinants of partridge nest-site choice, with patches of low, sparse, and secondary cover being preferred. Nest-sites were also significantly closer to paths than random sites.
Most of the range of the Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus falls within the borders of Russia and the associated republics. Although most research on this species has been conducted in Europe and Japan, a growing body of work has been developed since 1980 in Russia. As this work has mostly appeared only in Russian, and often in local journals, the accessibility and availability of that literature to non-Russian scientists has been extremely limited, although Brazil & Shergalin (2002) have reviewed much of the literature that pertains to Western Russia and Western Siberia. Here we continue that review, providing an overview of the status and distribution of the species in two further regions: 1) Central and Eastern Siberia (from the Yenisei to the Lena), and 2) The Russian Far East (from the Lena to the Bering Sea). Each of these regions is as large, or considerably larger than the area occupied by the European population, which is currently the only region for which accurate information on population size is available. The two regions addressed in this paper are characterised by large areas of potential Whooper Swan breeding habitat though the majority of the population winters beyond the borders of Russia. The breeding range extends east almost as far as the easternmost limits of Russia, in the Anadyr Valley of Chukotka and on Kamchatka. The northern limit to its breeding range lies between 67-68°N, and exceptionally north to 72°N, but whereas the breeding range extends south to 62°N in western parts of European Russia, it reaches as far south as 55°N to 50°N on Sakhalin and in Kamchatka. Whereas many birds from the western range winter south to 47-50°N in Europe, a large proportion of the birds breeding in Central and Eastern Siberia, and the Russian Far East migrate to wintering grounds in central Asia and eastern Asia, where the southernmost wintering Whooper Swans are in Japan. There, for climatic reasons, they can be found in large numbers at latitudes as low as between 35°N to 40°N. Published population estimates vary enormously for Central and Eastern Siberia, however, the population of the Russian Far East is thought to be more reliably in the region of 60, 000 birds based on numbers wintering in Kamchatka, Japan, the Korean Peninsula and China.
Two Chinese Blue-and-white Flycatchers Cyanoptila cyanomelana cumatilis, an adult male and a first winter male, were banded on Kuroshima, Mishima-mura, Kagoshima-gun, Kagoshima Prefecture (30°50'N, 129°56'E) on 27 and 28 September 1997, respectively. This is the first authentic record for this subspecies of Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana for Japan. The birds were probably migrants on their way to their wintering area. I showed the photos of the two birds, with the photos of C. c. cumatilis captured on China mainland and C. c. cyanomelana from Honshu, Japan for comparative identification.
In 1991, the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology initiated a project on the Short-tailed Albatross Diomedea albatrus at a new nesting site on Tori-shima, one of the Izu Islands. The project involved the initiation of a new nesting colony using decoys and vocal lures. A new observation system using video camera that transmits live to our office 600km far from Tori-shima, was established at the site in 1997. The system uses a satellite portable phone developed by NTT DoCoMo Inc. The camera established near the colony can be controlled for zoom and change of view, by a personal computer in the office. Two cameras, each at a different location were used; one beside the nesting spot of the first pair that colonized the site, the other above the decoys where all birds could be observed. Based on the 394 hours observations through satellite portable phone in three breeding seasons of 1997-1998, 1998-1999, 1999-2000, one pair of Short-tailed Albatross was found to incubate single egg for 65 days for three breeding seasons. Just after an egg as laid, the male started incubating. The pairs exchanged incubation duties 4 or 5 times, with the longest period between nest exchange being 24 days. In total incubation periods, male stayed on the nest longer than female. These breeding activities resembled other species of albatrosses such as Laysan Albatross D. immutabilis, Black-footed Albatross D. nigripes. This satellite portable phone system is the most useful in the observation of endangered species on isolated islands where it is difficult for researchers to live and where the nesting colony is readily disturbed by humans.
On 28 March 1984, I observed and photographed a single Mistle Thrush in Obata Ryokuchi Koen, Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan (34°47'N, 135°0'E). On geographic grounds, and supported by the bird's large size, pale plumage and bill structure, it can reasonably be ascribed to the subspecies Turdus viscivorus bonapartei. The Mistle Thrush has now occurred at least three times in Japan: early February to late March 1984, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture (Brazil 1991), on Ainoshima, Fukuoka Prefecture on 3 November 1998, and most recently on Hegura-jima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on 15 October 1999. Although it has been reported in various popular publications it has not been admitted to the official list of the birds of Japan (OSJ 2000), on the basis that it had not been reported in a scientific journal by March 1999. This short note provides both written and photographic evidence and confirmation of the first occurrence of the species in Japan so that it may be admitted to the official list.
The Madeiran Storm-petrel Oceanodroma castro is a threatened seabird breeding on the Hide-shima (39°40'N, 142°00'E), Iwate Prefecture, in northern Japan. This small island is the only known large colony in Japan for this species. In the latter half of 1980s, nesting burrows of Madeiran Storm-petrels were confirmed to have been decreasing owing to the interspecific competition for nesting burrows between larger Streaked Shearwaters Calonectris leucomeras and this smaller species. We used small wire mesh nets at the nesting ground in order to exclude larger species from Madeiran storm petrel burrows in 1990. Results suggest that nest numbers of Madeiran Petrels have been gradually increasing in the experimental area.