Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rare ibis seen in Aso, Japan

Reporters and birders in Japan have been flocking [pun intended] to Aso to see a kurotoki, or black-headed ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus), a species rarely seen in Japan. (Its normal habitat is China and Southeast Asia.)


According to this news video [in Japanese only], this individual ibis first appeared in Aso last fall and has been seen in the area almost daily ever since. "He's like a member of the family now," says the woman interviewed.


The news report also says that although the bird seems to have an injured leg, it can still fly and feed itself, so the local branch of the Wild Bird Society of Japan (Yacho no Kai) has decided not to capture it for protective purposes.


The kurotoki ("black toki") is not to be confused with the crested ibis, or just plain toki, which was once common throughout Japan but long ago disappeared from the country's skies. Captive breeding efforts using birds from China are attempting to save the crested ibis from extinction and re-introduce it to Japan.



The rare bird. (Click on the photo to watch the video.)


—Mellow Monk


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