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Birdwatching on Kuchinoerabu Island with 9 Native Birds

Kuchinoerabu Island is an enchanting volcanic island located south of Japan. The island is home to various wildlife, among which the birds are significant.

Kuchinoerabu Island has diverse bird species that are unique to the area and attract ornithologists from around the world. The landscape boasts rich flora and fauna, and with the many rivers and lakes, the island becomes an ideal natural habitat for many bird species.

With their bright colors and melodious songs, the birds of Kuchinoerabu Island showcase the incredible biodiversity of this remote part of Japan.

This article will explore the species of birds inhabiting the island and examine their behavior and ecological significance in this fragile ecosystem.

1. Common Kingfisher

Common kingfisher

The Common Kingfisher is a small, sparrow-sized bird that can be found across Eurasia and North Africa. It has the typical short tail and large head of kingfishers, with seven different subspecies recognized in its range.

They are mainly resident birds but will migrate away during winter when rivers freeze over. The species usually live near bodies of water such as streams or lakes.

Where they hunt for fish by diving from above into the water after spotting their prey below them.

These brightly colored birds have an unmistakable vibrant blue plumage, orange underparts, and white patches on their wings, making them easy to recognize amongst other similar-looking species.

Their call is loud and shrill, making it one of the most recognizable sounds heard around European wetlands.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae
Subfamily Alcedininae
Genus Alcedo
Species A. atthis

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2. White-Breasted Waterhen

White-breasted waterhen

The White-breasted Waterhen is a stunning bird species from South and Southeast Asia. It has a striking appearance, with its dark, slaty plumage contrasted by the clean white of its face, breast, and belly.

This bold waterbird can often be seen slowly walking around marshes or even drains near busy roads with its tail held upright in an unmistakable pose.

They are omnivores that feed on plants and small animals, such as insects and invertebrates.

The White-breasted Waterhen plays an important role in their ecosystems as they help to keep it balanced by consuming pests that could potentially cause damage to crops or other plant life if left unchecked.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Gruiformes
Family Rallidae
Genus Amaurornis
Species A. phoenicurus

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3. Oriental Turtle Dove

Oriental turtle dove

The Oriental turtle dove is a member of the Columbidae bird family and has an extensive range from Europe to Japan. It can be identified by its rufous plumage with variations in patterning among different subspecies.

During winter, populations at higher latitudes migrate south for warmer climates. When courting, males display cooing or hooting sounds and perform flight displays that consist of circular glides followed by dives toward their female counterparts.

They feed on grains as well as fruits such as olives and figs when these are available seasonally.

The nests are typically located in trees or bushes near water sources where they lay two white eggs, which hatch after 14 days of incubation, a period shared between both parents.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae
Genus Streptopelia
Species S. orientalis

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4. Little Ringed Plover

Little ringed plover

The Little Ringed Plover is a small bird species from the genus Charadrius. It has been given its scientific name due to its uncertain origin and yellowish coloring, which was first noted in the fourth-century Vulgate Bible.

Native to river valleys across Europe and parts of Asia, this wader prefers areas with soft ground where it can feed on insects or worms.

Its plumage consists mainly of brown tones, but during breeding season, males will develop a black breast band for courtship displays.

These birds construct shallow nests near waterbodies using pebbles found nearby and vegetation such as grasses and mosses to provide camouflage from predators.

The female typically lays three eggs at one time that are incubated by both parents until they hatch after around three weeks before fleeing shortly afterward.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Charadriidae
Genus Charadrius
Species C. dubius

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5. Brown Booby

Brown booby

The Brown Booby is a large seabird from the booby family Sulidae. It has a pantropical range and can be found in many areas of the world.

This bird lives in flocks and forages by plunging into shallow waters to catch small fish that are driven near the surface by predators or storms.

The brown booby is known for its short wings, which make it highly maneuverable when hunting; this allows it to pursue prey quickly with sudden turns and dives.

Its diet also includes squid, crustaceans, eggs of other birds, and scraps from boats or ships they may come across while flying around coastlines.

They sometimes rest on floating objects during their long flights over open water between islands or continents.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Suliformes
Family Sulidae
Genus Sula
Species S. leucogaster

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6. Great Egret

Great egret

The Great Egret is a large, white bird found in many regions of the world. It has four subspecies that reside across Asia, Africa, the Americas, and southern Europe.

This species usually lives near bodies of water such as lakes and marshes. They are also now starting to spread into more northern areas of Europe due to climate change.

These birds have long yellow legs with an impressive wingspan, allowing them to soar majestically through the sky, hunting for fish or amphibians in shallow waters below.

Their feathers have been used historically by Native Americans as part of traditional garments or ceremonies, but this practice should be avoided today so these amazing creatures can thrive without harm from humans.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Pelecaniformes
Family Ardeidae
Genus Ardea
Species A. alba

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7. Black-Tailed Godwit

Black-tailed godwit

The Black-tailed Godwit is a species of large shorebird that was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758.

These beautiful birds have an orange head, neck, and chest during breeding season, while they turn to grey-brown coloration in winter.

They are easily identifiable throughout the year due to their black and white wing bar. As for their habitat, these godwits breed mostly in Iceland but also across Europe, eastward through Asia Minor all the way to Mongolia; some even winter further south in Africa or India.

The Godwit has adapted well to human presence as it can be found near wetlands farms or villages where plenty of food is available from plowed fields.

It’s really amazing how such a majestic bird with colorful plumage manages so successfully in this day and age.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae
Genus Limosa
Species L. limosa

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8. Streaked Shearwater

Streaked shearwater

The Streaked Shearwater is a species of seabird that averages 48 cm in length and has a wingspan of 122 cm. It primarily feeds on fish, squid, and anchovy crawls off Japan.

Sadly, it can often be taken as by-catch in nets or die from ingesting bait from longline fishing lines. This bird may also follow fishing boats to scavenge for food scraps thrown overboard.

Despite its vulnerability to human activity, the Streaked Shearwater’s population numbers have remained stable due to its wide range across many oceanic regions, such as the North Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Procellariiformes
Family Procellariidae
Genus Calonectris
Species C. leucomelas

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9. Little Grebe

Little grebe

The little grebe, also known as dabchick, belongs to the grebe family and is a small water bird. It gets its genus name from the Ancient Greek words for ‘fast’ and ‘to sink under.’

The specific name ruficollis means ‘red-necked’ in Latin. With a length of 23 to 29 centimeters, it is the smallest member of the Grebe family.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Podicipediformes
Family Podicipedidae
Genus Tachybaptus
Species T. ruficollis

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To Recap

Birdwatching on Kuchinoerabu Island offers a remarkable experience for nature enthusiasts and bird lovers alike. This remote Japanese island is home to nine native bird species, each with its unique charm and beauty.

Exploring its lush forests and pristine coastline provides the opportunity to observe these avian wonders in their natural habitat.

From the vibrant plumage of the Ryukyu Robin to the melodious calls of the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Kuchinoerabu Island’s diverse birdlife is a testament to the island’s ecological richness.

Birdwatching here connects us with nature and underscores the importance of preserving such unique ecosystems for future generations to cherish.

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