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Japanese Wood Pigeon

From Opus

Photo © by Joseph MorlanAmami Nature Forest Observatory, Amami-Oshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, 3 September 2019
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Amami Nature Forest Observatory, Amami-Oshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, 3 September 2019
Columba janthina


[edit] Identification

Photo © by john_wrightNomozaki Peninsula, Nagasaki, Japan, 21 April 2011
Photo © by john_wright
Nomozaki Peninsula, Nagasaki, Japan, 21 April 2011

Length: 37-43.5cm (14½-17¼")
The largest pigeon in the East Asia region Very dark in appearance, with small head, longish neck and tail. Overall the body is soot-black with iridescent green or purple on crown, shoulders and sides of neck. C. j. nitens has reddish or purplish coloration on face, head and upper back of neck. Bill is longish, narrow and dark with ivory tip. Tarsi are red in adults while paler in juveniles. Appears like a crow in flight, with large wings and slightly fanned tail.

[edit] Distribution

Asia: found in China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • C. j. janthina:
  • Small islands south-west of South Korea to Ryukyu Islands
  • C. j. nitens:
  • Ogasawara (Bonin Islands) and Iwo (Volcano Islands)

An additional subspecies stejnegeri is generally considered to be invalid[2].

[edit] Habitat

Forest, primarily old-growth.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

Primarily Camellia seeds, but also other seeds, buds and fruits.

[edit] Breeding

Nest reported to usually be in a hole in a tree, also sometimes among rocks. A single egg is laid. Nesting season is February through September.

[edit] Vocalisations

Typical call is a long, drawn-out cow-like mooing, also a lamb-like bleating during courtship.

[edit] Movements

Assumed largely resident, but occasional sightings away from known areas indicate some migratory movement.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from
  2. Avibase
  3. Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., de Juana, E., Sharpe, C.J. & Boesman, P. (2019). Japanese Woodpigeon (Columba janthina). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 4 October 2019).
  4. BirdLife International 2016. Columba janthina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22690206A93265097. Downloaded on 15 October 2019.
  5. Brazil, M. (1991). The Birds of Japan. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C. ISBN 1-56098-030-3
  6. Brazil, M. (2018). Birds of Japan. Helm, London. ISBN 978-1-4729-1386-9

[edit] External Links


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