Sakhalin is an island that is located off the eastern coast of Russia, and it is an important destination for birdwatchers from around the world. This is because the island boasts a wide variety of bird species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.
The diverse habitats found on Sakhalin, including wetlands, forests, and coastal areas, provide ideal environments for different bird species to thrive. Whether you are an avid bird watcher or a casual observer, Sakhalin is a bird paradise not to be missed.
In this article, we will discuss the different bird species found on Sakhalin, their unique characteristics, habitats, and behaviors.
1. Nordmann's greenshank
Nordmann's greenshank is a species of wader belonging to the Scolopacidae family. It measures 29–32 cm (11-13 in) long and has an upturned bill that is bicolored; its legs are short, yellowish.
Breeding adults have white spots and streaks on their black upperside which make them easily distinguishable from other birds of similar sizes.
They inhabit coastal wetlands including estuaries, mudflats and shallow lagoons where they feed mainly on small invertebrates such as molluscs, crustaceans or aquatic insects by pecking at the surface water with their beaks.
Nordmann's Greenshanks usually form monogamous pairs during breeding season but also large flocks outside breeding time when they migrate southwards towards tropical areas for wintering purposes.
These beautiful little creatures are considered Near threatened due to habitat destruction although some conservation actions have been taken in order to protect this species' population levels worldwideScientific classification:
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2. Brown-eared bulbul
The Brown-eared Bulbul is a medium-sized bird native to eastern Asia. Its range stretches from southern Sakhalin to the northern Philippines, and it can be found in abundance throughout its habitat.
The species was initially classified as part of the Turdus genus before being reclassified into other genera over time - most recently Microscelis.
These birds are characterized by their unique brown ear tufts, which have earned them their common name.
They typically measure around 20 cm long with greyish olive colored feathers covering much of their body except for white underparts and wings marked with black bars on each feather.
Their diet consists mainly of insects but they also feed on fruits such as berries when available in addition to some small invertebrates like beetles or caterpillars.
With an impressive vocal range that includes both calls and songs, these birds make great additions to any garden or aviary.Scientific classification:
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3. Lapland longspur
The Lapland longspur is a passerine bird of the Calcariidae family, which has been differentiated from Old World finches.
It gets its name from its hindfoot claws that are considerably longer than usual for most birds.
The genus Calcarius in Latin translates to "spurs", while lapponicus refers to Lapland where it can be commonly found.
This small sparrow-like bird with black and brown plumage measures around 15 cm in length and weighs just 20 gm on an average.
They feed mainly on seeds and insects during summer months but consume mostly leftover grain by humans when cold winter sets in.
These nomadic species migrate southwards every year before temperatures start dropping too low, making them truly fascinating creatures.Scientific classification:
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4. Siberian rubythroat
The Siberian rubythroat is a small bird found in the Old World. It was first described in 1776 by Peter Simon Pallas. Formerly known as a thrush, it is now classified as an Old World flycatcher.
This bird is often referred to as a chat, and is known for its migratory habits and insectivorous diet.
Despite its small size, the Siberian rubythroat is a fierce hunter and can often be seen darting through the air in pursuit of its prey.
With its striking ruby-red throat and distinctive coloring, it is a beloved bird among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.Scientific classification:
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5. Russet sparrow
The russet sparrow, also known as the cinnamon or cinnamon tree sparrow, is a small bird belonging to the sparrow family. It has a thick bill and typically feeds on seeds.
This bird measures around 14 to 15 cm long with a warm rufous plumage above and grayish plumage below.
This species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with both males and females having similar plumage patterns.
The russet sparrow is found in various parts of Asia, including Japan, China, and Korea. This bird is often observed in agricultural areas, gardens, and parks.
Overall, the russet sparrow is a cute and chubby bird that can be identified by its unique coloration and thick beak.Scientific classification:
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6. Latham's snipe
Latham's snipe, also called the Japanese snipe, is a migratory bird found in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. This medium-sized bird has a long bill that distinguishes it from other species.
The snipe's plumage is a combination of black, brown, buff, and white, giving it a cryptic pattern. The bird is about 29-33 cm long, with a wingspan of 50-54 cm, and weighs between 150-230 g.
Despite being identifiable as a Gallinago snipe, it is challenging to distinguish it from Swinhoe's snipe.
As a migratory species, the Latham's snipe travels to different regions to breed and feed.
The breeding area is located in East Asia, while the non-breeding place is found in Southeast Asia and Australia. This bird species relies mainly on wetland habitats to thrive and survive.Scientific classification:
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7. Chestnut-cheeked starling
The Chestnut-cheeked starling is a species of bird in the Sturnidae family, found in Japan and Russia. During the winter season, they migrate to countries such as Taiwan, the Philippines and northern Borneo.
Previously, they were classified under the genus Sturnus but were later reclassified under the resurrected genus Agropsar based on molecular phylogeny. They are known for their distinctive chestnut brown cheeks which contrast with their black plumage.
Apart from their appearance, they are also known for their melodious tune. Though small in size, they are highly social birds, often seen in flocks travelling together to their destinations.
These birds are an essential part of their ecosystem as they play a crucial role in seed dispersal and maintaining a balance in the food chain.Scientific classification:
8. Sakhalin leaf warbler
The Sakhalin leaf warbler is a type of Old World warbler. They can be found in Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands and Japan, and migrate to the Amami and Okinawa islands during the winter season.
Their natural habitat consists of temperate forests. These small birds are known for their distinctive greenish-yellow plumage and their melodious songs that can be heard even in dense forests.
They are also known to be quite secretive and difficult to spot. The Sakhalin leaf warbler is a fascinating bird species that plays an important role in maintaining the natural balance of the forests they inhabit.
Unfortunately, they face several threats, including habitat loss due to deforestation and climate change, making conservation efforts crucial for their survival.Scientific classification:
9. Japanese robin
The Japanese robin is a small bird belonging to the Muscicapidae family. It is also known as Komadori or Erithacus akahige. Its natural habitat is in Japan and the southern parts of the Kuril and Sakhalin Islands.
The bird has distinctive orange-red coloring on its breast, abdomen, and tail. Its back and wings are grayish-brown. The Japanese robin has a small, slender beak that it uses to dig for insects, spiders, and small invertebrates to feed on.
Its melodious chirps can be heard throughout Japan's wooded areas. The Japanese robin is an important symbol in Japanese folklore and is often depicted in traditional artwork.
However, its populations have been declining due to habitat loss, making it a species of concern.
Conservation efforts are being made, including the creation of protected habitats, to preserve this bird's declining populations.Scientific classification: