Guide to some birds of the Okhotsk region

EurasianJay StellarsSeeagle Redpoll BlakistonsFishowl LathamsSnipe JapaneseCrane Skylark LongtailedTit JuvenileSwan
Whooper Swan White-tailed Sea-Eagle Stellar's Sea-Eagle Hazel Grouse
Japanese Crane Far Eastern Curlew Latham's Snipe Ross's Gull
Blakiston's Fish-Owl Ural Owl Black Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Eurasian Skylark Long-tailed Tit Snow Bunting Common Redpoll
Tree Sparrow Eurasian Jay Northern Raven Buller's Shearwater*
Swan Goose* Ashy Minivet* To Checklist To Bird Guide Top

Eurasian Skylark   Alauda arvensis   Hibari

The Eurasian Skylark comes to the Okhotsk region as a summer bird and is commonly seen in meadows, fields, and around river banks. They can also be seen in large groups of up to a few hundred during their migrations in spring or autumn. Their calls are a long, complex combination of several phrases such as "Pyuru-pyuru" or "Guiitsku-guiitsku". They make calls while they're flying up in the air and when they're on the ground.

They are easily recognizable by their prominent crest, though the crest is not always up. There are also considerable variances among individuals concerning the length or size of their bills and the color and size of their bodies. Care needs to be taken when observing them during migrations, as they are often mistaken to be different species within the group. In March, when they have just arrived on a migration, many individuals gather at open spots in fields of snow that have begun to melt and this is a good time to closely observe their various differences.

The subspecies of Skylark that generally breeds in most of Japan is the Subspecies Hibari (A. a. japonica), the subspecies that breeds on the Notsuke Peninsula and other parts of eastern Hokkaido is the Subspecies Oo Hibari (A. a. pekinensis), and the subspecies that passes through Hokkaido on migrations and breeds in the southern Kuriles is the Subspecies Karafuto-chuu Hibari (A. a. lonnbergi). Identifying these three subspecies in the field is extremely difficult. Many issues still remain, such as what subspecies actually breed in the Okhotsk region and what are the specific distributions of subspecies in the extended Okhotsk region.


Adult of unknown subspecies. Posture is somewhat lowered due to danger of White-tailed Sea-Eagle flying overhead. The bill is quite thick.
(Shari fishing port, 7 June 2004)


Juvenile of unknown subspecies. Since its juvenile plumage is brand new, the scaly pattern of its upper feathers is very clear. The bill is still fairly short, and its edge is yellow.
(Shari, 8 June 2004)