Brown-eared Bulbul

There were a couple of these brown-eared bulbuls (hiyodori) in trees next to the river in Tagawa, but I couldn’t get anywhere near them. They are very jumpy! These birds are common in Japan in the winter and they also visit my garden, so we often hear their noisy screeches.


Order: Passeriformes
Family: Pycnonotidae
Brown-eared Bulbul = hiyodori
Microscelis amaurotis


I went for a lunchtime walk alongside the river in Tagawa (near Fukuoka Prefectural University where I work) and found this flock of wigeons. They were a bit shy so I had to take the photos on full zoom, which reduced the quality. This species of dabbling duck is really handsome, with a striking white speculum. It is migratory and comes to Japan for the winter then returns to Siberia for breeding.


Wigeon = hidorigamo
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Anas penelope

Daurian Redstart

I’ve seen quite a few daurian redstarts recently and been pleasantly surprised at how close they allow me to approach, especially the females. This picture is of a female daurian redstart sitting in a small tree next to the river in Tagawa.
According to the Wikipedia article (link), they used to be regarded as thrushes, but are now considered to be old world flycatchers. Apparently, as well as eating insects and spiders, they will eat berries in winter.

Daurian RedstartDaurian Redstart

Daurian Redstart = joubitaki
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Phoenicurus auroreus

Grey Starling

Grey starlings (makudori) are also known as white-cheeked starlings. They are very common in the winter in Japan and I often see them, but I haven’t had much luck photographing them. These shots were taken by the river in Tagawa, where I spotted a group of about seven or eight. This species is considered a pest due to the noise/faeces from large flocks in city trees, and also because they eat fruit.

gray starlinggray starling

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sturnidae (starlings)
Grey starling = makudori
Sturnus cineraceus