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Old Monday 30th April 2007, 10:25   #1
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Help! Thrush (?) with White Ring and Stripe Around Eye

Please help with this bird! I cannot find it anywhere in my Japan bird guides. I saw it just an hour ago here in Tokyo.

It is about the same size and shape as a thrush, but it has a very distinctive ring-and-stripe combo around its eyes, like a pair of white glasses.

I will attempt to attach the photos I got of it--not too great, as it was low light under a canopy of trees, but should be more than enough for someone who knows the bird to identify it.

Thanks for any and all help!
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Old Monday 30th April 2007, 10:48   #2
Mike Kilburn
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This bird is a Hwamei. It is a kind of laughingthrush

I suspect it is an escaped cagebird as they are not native in Japan but highly prized as cagebirds throughout E Asia for their singing ability.

It is native in Southern China, including here in Hong Kong.

HKIA Magic Roundabout: Blue Whistling Thrush, Black-throated Thrush, Great Cormorant (181)
Hong Kong: House Sparrow, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Rufous-faced Warbler (467)
Greater China: Franklin's Gull, Buff-breasted Sandpiper (961)
Lifer: Red-tailed Tropicbird, Masked Booby
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Old Monday 30th April 2007, 11:08   #3
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Thanks, Mike--that's the one! Your ID let me find the Japanese name for the bird, which is the Gabi-cho, a name which I'd heard long ago, but had forgotten. Apparently, it's not all that common--from one site I saw, there were sightings in Japan beginning in 1994, and only about 100 annual sightings by 1999. I don't know how rare it still is--gotta do more research on that.

Thanks again!
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Old Sunday 6th May 2007, 11:18   #4
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Hey Blogd and Mike

Just to give you a little more info on the status of Hwamei in Japan.

They are breeding ferally in several prefectures of Japan, with the stronghold being in Kanagawa and smaller numbers in Yamanashi

Their origin is almost certainly from escaped or released cagebirds from about 1980 onwards.

Several other cagebirds have naturalized in Japan, the most successful being Red-billed Leothrix, which has established itself in many places in Kyushu and Honshu.

Other relatively successful colonizers include Ring-necked parakeet, Red Avadavat, Black-crowned laughing Thrush, Budgerigar, White-rumped Munia, Spotted Munia, White-headed Munia, Black-headed Munia, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Common Mynah, Crested Mynah, White-vented Mynah, Yellow-rumped Bishop and Northern Red Bishop. Though with exception of the munias, parakeet and Avadavat they seem to not be thriving and may well die out...and remain all localized.

Even Japan's tiny population of about 100 pairs of Collared Dove is in fact from an introudction made 200 years ago.

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