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Paradise Flycatchers in Shanghai – 10,000 Birds

    Such an embarrassingly populist title of a weblog publish ought to clearly be adopted by some dry info. Right here goes: Paradise Flycatchers are a genus within the broader (and slightly massive) household of Monarchidae. There are 17 totally different species of them, just a few of them endangered, significantly some island endemics. Whereas most of them are non-migratory, the 2 that go to Shanghai are migratory: the Amur Paradise Flycatcher and the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher.

    A attribute of most however not all Paradise Flycatchers is the lengthy tail of the male fowl (tail size is regarded as a criterion by which females choose their companions – please insert your personal pornographic joke right here). Because of this the fowl proven beneath – if I’m right in pondering it’s a male Japanese Paradise Flycatcher with a slightly brief story – will battle to discover a accomplice this 12 months.

    The Japanese Paradise Flycatcher normally arrives in Shanghai a bit sooner than the Amur one, because it nonetheless has to journey on to Japan. It’s listed as Close to Threatened – the HBW cites the same old causes which are simply different methods of claiming that people don’t care sufficient for different species, akin to forest loss and degradation in its winter vary. In fact, for international locations with largely average climates such because the US, China, Japan, or Germany, it’s at all times simpler to say that the winter vary is the issue (i.e., not their very own).

    Wikipedia claims that in Japanese, its tune is rendered as tsuki-hi-hoshi, hoi-hoi-hoi, which interprets to Moon-Solar-Stars and offers the Japanese identify of the fowl sankocho (actually, fowl of three lights, i.e. moon, solar, star, from san three + ko lights + cho fowl) – and perhaps that’s true, or perhaps the one that wrote the Wikipedia entry simply has a humorousness just like mine …

    I’m certain that like me, you will have spent many sleepless nights questioning in regards to the territory dimension of breeding Japanese Paradise Flycatchers. Concern not, science has a solution: about 1.16 hectares, which is an area of a bit greater than 100 meters by 100 meters (US readers: please do your personal conversion into sq. ft per inch, or no matter antiquated models you employ. Simply ensure that to do the conversion appropriately earlier than you launch any house shuttles).

    Someway, watching the male Japanese Paradise Flycatcher fly with its lengthy tail following it just like the ribbons of a ribbon dancer jogs my memory of Oscar Wilde’s play “Salome” – I assume it’s the “Dance of the seven veils” affiliation … with the web page of Herodias continuously saying that “One thing horrible could occur” … and it does. Oscar Wilde was form of my past love as a reader after I was about 15 – perhaps I ought to learn Dorian Grey once more certainly one of as of late.

    There’s not likely that a lot different data on the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher. Under are some photographs of the feminine.

    Switching to the Amur Paradise Flycatcher, which has the Latin species identify of incei.

    This identify is derived from Commander John Matthew Robert Ince (1812-1850) Royal Navy, surveyor, collector in Australia, New Guinea and China (supply: HBW). Sadly, there’s not a lot data on Mr. Ince – no Wikipedia entry, so far as I can inform – simply the curious bit of data that round 1846, he was on half pay on board the Fly 18 (supply). This doesn’t fairly appear to benefit naming a pretty fowl species after him, however what do I do know – I’d not have named a successful card in a card recreation after an atrocious US president both …

    The male is available in two morphs, although the white morph is considerably uncommon, and I didn’t see it this 12 months.

    Whereas additionally migratory, the Amur Paradise Flycatcher could finish its journey in Shanghai and breed right here, although the kind of habitat it requires is getting rarer and rarer (one of many previous locations I knew of is simply getting destroyed this 12 months).

    The way to distinguish the 2 species, as they appear considerably related? You possibly can look it up right here – it’s a rather more detailed description than I may ever handle.

    Personally, I discover it nearly simpler to simply hearken to the fowl – the calls are totally different, with those of the Amur Paradise Flycatcher sounding a bit extra refined to me (although to be trustworthy, none of those sound significantly good – when you look this spectacular, you don’t want to be an important singer as nicely).

    Aside from that, not a lot I can say about these two species – I’ll finish with some photographs of the feminine Amur Paradise Flycatcher.

    (all photographs taken at Nanhui, Shanghai in Might 2023)