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Japan Endangered Species: Japanese Murrelet

Animal

The Japanese Murrelet is a seabird that lives only in the Izu Islands, Kumano Nada, and northern Kyushu. The Japanese Murrelet was designated as a natural monument in 1975. Since it is a small bird with a total length of 24 cm, it is often preyed on and is designated as an endangered species. The main natural enemies are crows and mammals, which are predatory birds. The environmental destruction of breeding grounds is progressing, and the situation is becoming serious. Many breeding grounds have been designated as national wildlife sanctuaries.

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Habitat

The Japanese Murrelet inhabits the Izu Islands, Kumano Nada, and northern Kyushu.

Characteristic

The Japanese Murrelet is 20-30 cm long and weighs 100-200 g. The bird has black crests and cheeks, and the back of the head is white and has a clear color. You can dive well and live on water or on land. But most of the time I spend at sea. The body is a little thick and the wings are short, so I’m not very good at flying. Therefore, it is a bird that is often preyed on by crows. It is a bird found only in the waters near Japan, and its population is estimated to be around 5000-6000.

Ecology

The Japanese Murrelet has a very high diving ability and dives into the sea to catch and eat fish. The breeding style is oviparous. Breeding grounds are cliffs on uninhabited islands, rock-to-rock gaps on steep slopes, tree roots, and depressions in the ground. Breeding begins in December and lays one or two eggs. The incubation period is one month, and males and females take turns warming the eggs. Newborn chicks head to the sea a few days after birth to get food.

Endangered species

Since the Japanese Murrelet is originally a small bird, it is often preyed on by crows. The Japanese Murrelet is one of the most threatened species of Auk. It has been designated as a natural monument in Japan and is also designated as an endangered species. In recent years, breeding grounds have been devastated by fishing and environmental destruction, and parent birds are increasingly abandoning their nests. Eggs and nests are sometimes damaged by humans, and their numbers are decreasing year by year. Against this background, the Government of Japan has designated most of the breeding grounds of the Japanese Murrelet as a national wildlife sanctuary.

Breeding

The Japanese Murrelet is difficult to breed due to its declining population. Watch it at the zoo or go to Japan.

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