Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Flocks of Amami jays can be found wandering through their preferred habitat, mature evergreen forest, searching for their main food source, acorns of the Castanopsis cuspidata tree. These flocks are generally small, but groups of up to 100 have been reported. It is rarely seen feeding in the trees, preferring instead to forage among leaf litter on the forest floor, and will often store the food it finds for the winter. As well as acorns, the Amami jay consumes sweet potato, insects and reptiles, such as grass lizards and the poisonous Okinawa pit-viper (3). The Amami jay breeds from late January until May, when it will lay three to four eggs in nests on low tree branches, in tree holes, or occasionally on the ground or on buildings. The adults protect small territories around the nesting site, and chicks fledge in mid to late March (3).
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Description

This stunning, richly coloured bird is found only on a few islands in Japan. Its plumage is a deep purplish-blue, with a velvety black forehead and a rich chestnut back and underparts. The flight and tail feather are tipped with white, and there is also white flecking on the throat. The bill has a grey-blue base and an ivory coloured tip (2). The Latin genus name of this bird, Garrulus, means talkative and chattering.
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Distribution

Range Description

Garrulus lidthi is endemic to the islands of Amami-ooshima, Kakeroma-jima, Uke-jima, Edateku-jima, part of the Nansei Shoto Islands, Japan (BirdLife International 2001, K. Ishida in litt. 2012). Its population was estimated at c.5,800 birds in the 1970s, but it may have declined through to the 1990s. It is precautionarily treated as undergoing a continuing decline overall, although it may have begun to increase since 2000, owing to alien predator control and natural forest regeneration (Yukihiro Kominami in litt. 2007), and may now be stable (K. Ishida in litt. 2012). Some observations indicate a population increase in the northern Kasari peninsula of Amami-ooshima (M. Takashi per K. Ishida in litt. 2012).

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Range

Ryukyu Islands (Amami-O-Shima and Tokuno-Shima).
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Range

The Amami jay is found only on the Nansei Shoto islands in southern Japan, where it occurs on Amami-ooshima and Kakeroma-jima. It previously could be found on Tokuno-shima Island, but is now believed to be extinct there (2).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It occurs from sea-level into the hills, in subtropical evergreen broadleaved forest, coniferous forest, and in woodland around cultivation and human habitation, showing a significant preference for mature forest. It feeds on and caches the acorns of Castanopsis cuspidate, Quercus glauca and other oaks when they are available; if this food supply is exhausted birds will feed in agricultural fields (Yukihiro Kominami in litt. 2007). Sweet potato, insects, spiders, seeds, fruits, reptiles, including Okinawa pit-viper Trimeresurus flavoviridis, and birds are also included in its diet. It forages in trees and on the ground. Breeding takes place from late January or early February until May.


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Occurs primarily in subtropical evergreen broadleaved forest, particularly mature forest, but can also be found in coniferous forest and woodland around agricultural areas and human habitation, from sea level up into the hills (3).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Garrulus lidthi

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
C2a(ii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Ishida, K. & Kominami, Y.

Justification
This jay has a small population which is suspected to have declined, possibly as a result of increased levels of predation. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable. If surveys reveal that the population is now increasing following predator control and forest regeneration, the species may warrant downlisting.


History
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Near Threatened (NT)