Birds in Tokyo

Tokyo is the most developed city in Japan and the one of largest metropolis in the world. 

And many people think Tokyo has much more urban areas than nature. However there is a lot more birding spots. They are park green area, Tokyo bay, Tama hills area etc.These places are good for birding. 

These places are also good public transport access, so you can feel free to visit and enjoy birding.

We would like to introduce some species that can be observed mainly in winter, at Kasai Rinkai Park, which is a typical birding spot in Tokyo. 


Photo and write by  Naoya "Sebastian" Hiranaka


Black-faced Spoonbill


If we are lucky, we can find out Black-faced Spoonbill. It is one of endangered species, and

there are approximately 4,500 in the world. 

It is very popular among birders at Kasai in winter and spring season, and many birders come to see it.



Great Reed Warbler


This is a typical summer bird. It comes from Southeast Asia to Japan for breeding.

You can hear thier very distinctive sounds in reeds from spring to early summer. 


Grey Heron


This is a bird that can be seen anywhere, but it shows various figures in the park.

It is a standing on the tree, flying, or aiming at a fish.


Japanese White-eye


Perhaps it is the smallest bird among the birds we find today.

It loves flower nectar and fly from flower to flower in search of honey.




Kasai Marine Park is probably the easiest place to observe Osprey in Tokyo Bay.

It is always eating a fish on a pile of the sea.


Azure-winged Magpie


To a very mysterious thing, it lives only in part of the Iberian Peninsula of Spain and east of Japan.

It is a beautiful bird because its tail is long and blue, but in reality it is a closely related species of crow.


Bull-headed Shrike


The face is cute but it is a small hunter.

Sometimes small birds are caught.

In Japanese (Chinese character), it is a name meaning "100 tongues"(百舌), as its name suggests, it mimics other birds' twitter.


Black-headed Gull


It is a symbol bird of Tokyo Metropolis. 

In summer, its head turns black, but in winter season, it has a cute face like a picture.

Since the body is smaller than other gulls, it can be discriminated immediately.


Common Kingfisher


The kingfisher like "Jewel" is very beautiful and loved by many people. 

In Kasai you can observe frequently, it is the yearning of many birders. 

Male that the bottom beak is black. The female is red.

If you are lucky, you will be able to see how it catches fish.


Greater Skaup


It is a bird that can be said as a symbol of Kasai. In winter, over 20,000 Skaups come from Siberia for overwintering, 

and this is the most wintering area in the world.

This huge big flock is magnificent landscape.


Eurasian Curlew


It’s a typical seabird at Kasai. It’s usually taking a rest on the pile at West shore.

To observe the very long beak is really enjoyable.


Black-faced Bunting


It is one of bunting species with brilliant green. In Kasai we can see on the avenue at the sanctuary’s north area in winter.

Since it is not afraid of human beings, it is easy to find it.


Pale Thrush


In winter, it can be seen in the bush. If you hear the sound of turning fallen leaves in the bush, Pale Thrush may search for food.


Brown-cheaked Rail


In Kasai you can often see it from winter to spring. 

Because it is a bird with extreme caution, let's observe quietly when you find it. It can be seen at water’s edge near from Watching center.


Common Snipe


In Kasai we can observe it that's looking for food with long beaks in winter at the lower pond.

In Snipe's group, it is most popular species in Japan.


Great Crested Grebe


This is the most common grebe species in Tokyo Bay. More than 5,000 can be seen at Kasai in winter.

The head color of the current season has changed to summer plumage, and the beautiful CREST is observed.


Japanese Tit


You can observe it all over the park.

It has a pattern of “black necktie”.

There is also a study that its singing voice can control the language.


Common Pochard


Now it's getting a lot less, but in winter several dozens of Common Pochard came to Kasai for overwintering.

Their red heads are very conspicuous.


Brown-eared Bulbul


It can be seen anywhere in Japan.

It is said that this is the species that lives in the northern limit in bulbul’s group.

If you hear a sharp cry, that would be a Brown-eared Bulbul.


Oriental Turtle Dove


It is the most popular dove in Kasai.

In Japanese name it means "Pheasant Dove". This is because the pattern of the plumage resembles Pheasant.

If you can see the sunbathing dove like the photo, you can observe the pattern of the plumage well.


Eastern Buzzard


This is one of the most common raptores in Kasai.

It is often on the dead tree or the dead grass. At that time it is very difficult to find like ninja because the color of plumage make invisible by means of protective coloring.


Eurasian Coot


The number of this is increasing especially recently.

In Kasai, you can observe on the beach, and sometimes you can see the group walking on the land near the pond with looking for food.


White Wagtail


You can see it everywhere in the park. It is also the bird that you see often in town.

Let's enjoy the cute twitter and the figure walking while wagging the tail.


Great Cormorant


It can be observed all through the year in Kasai, and the emerald green eyes are beautiful. Cormorants have been used as the “tool” for fishing in Asian culture.

In Japan, the different species, “Japanese Cormorant” is used for fishing. However in China, Great Cormorant is used.


Black Kite


It’s the most familiar raptor and can be found everywhere.

It is beautiful to ride the updraft, swirl in the sky, and you sometimes see it fighting in the air against the crows.


Common Greenshank


It’s a most “slender” species in the sandpiper family.

In Kasai, several Greenshanks can be seen from spring to autumn. They are usually staying at the lower pond in sanctuary.


Dusky Thrush


It’s a typical “winter bird” in Japan. 

It has beautiful plumage, and it’s easy to find it. Because it usually looks for food on the ground.

But it will go back to Russia soon. See you again next year !


Little Egret


In the wind fluttering, the white feathers look like a dress and it is really beautiful.

It’s a small size egret and can be observed all year round.


Japanese Bush Warbler


It's twitter is a special feature of spring in Japan, and a seasonal word for the spring.

It's very difficult to find it, since it always lives in bush.

But if you hear the twitter, please try to find it.

In Kasai, we sometimes can see at the upper pond in sanctuary.


Common Teal

This is the smallest duck in Japan.
Because of Overwintering in winter, many teals come from Siberia to Kasai.
Males have a vivid head pattern and are very noticeable.
Most of it will return to Siberia soon.


Barn Swallow

It is a bird widely seen in the Northern Hemisphere. In Japan, it comes from Southeast Asia for breeding in the spring.
When the house where the swallow made a nest is thriving business, it has been said in Japan for a long time. So it has been cherished since ancient times.
Many swallows will come to Kasai soon.


Little Grebe


This is the smallest species in the grebe family.

In Kasai, you can also observe the nest and the chicks in it in spring.

If you hear the elegant birdsong, let’s look for it. It can be seen in the upper pond.


Northern Goshawk


If you are lucky, you will find Northern Goshawk which is the coolest raptor.

It was an endangered species in Tokyo, but its number has increased recently and it can sometimes be seen in Kasai.


Little Ringed Plover

It’s a messenger of the spring, and many birders feel spring coming by seeing it.
It is so cute with a clear yellow eye-ring and can be seen at the lower pond in sanctuary.


Eared Grebe

We often can see it in the waterway between West shore and East shore. In this season, the color of head turns to the bleeding plumage. It has red eyes and brown cheek. We sometimes feel fearful when we see it. But in winter, its head pattern will be black and white. It’s cute.


Reed Bunting

It’s a typical winter bird, too. 
It is moving from leaf to leaf in a dead reed. When you see the reed leaves with binoculars, you can find it easily.


Long-tailed Tit

It’s the most popular bird among women by the cute figure and twitter.
But it moves around quickly in the branches, it’s very difficult for photographers to take photos.


Black-crowned Night Heron



It sometimes can be seen in sanctuary. It stands still like an ornament for aiming the fish.

But it may be sleeping in daytime, since it’s one of nocturnal birds.


Pygmy Woodpecker



It’s the smallest woodpecker in Japan. It can be seen in the park even in the urban area all year round.

It “climbs up ” the tree with looking for the food.


Tufted Duck



It is a duck with distinctive "tufted" head feathers. It comes from Siberia to Kasai for overwintering as well as many other ducks in winter.

You can see it in the upper pond easily, so let's observe it.


Olive-backed Pipit



The color of this back is literally olive. In winter, it is often found in the pine tree forest on the west side of the park. It is very similar to Buff-bellied Pipit also seen in Kasai.


Eurasian Oystercatcher



This is an Irish national bird. In Japan, Sanbanze near from Kasai is famous as a overwintering destination for Oystercatchers, but a few are observed in Kasai's East shore.

It features a red beak like carrots.

Oriental Greenfinch



It is the most popular species in the finch family which can be seen in Kasai all year round.

And the yellow pattern of the wing is very impressive.

You can often see the flock of Greenfinch in the west side of the park. If you can hear the pretty twitter, let's look for the top of the tree.

Eastern Spot-billed Duck



It’s the only duck species that we can see all the year round. It’s not a migratory bird and we can observe the reproductive behavior in Japan.

You may see mom and chicks of the duck in summer. It’s a heartwarming scene for everyone.

Daurian Redstart



It migrates from Siberia or Northeastern China to Japan in winter.

Many birders are looking forward to seeing it because of the colorful plumage.

Females are cute. On the other hand, males have a grey crown and nape with lighter forehead.





If you read the bird book published in Japan, it’s described as “Bird with Big head”. Actually the head is big and the beak, too.

The figure is suitable for breaking nuts.


Slaty-backed Gull



Gulls’ family are difficult to identify, but this species is relatively easy to identify. The size of body is little bit bigger comparing with other gulls.

It can be seen at East shore of Kasai.


Common Sandpiper



It can be seen all year round in Kasai. Although it’s one of Sandpiper family, it’s a non-migratory breeding bird.

In Kasai, we can see at some spots. But the population is not many


Great Egret



It is the popular egret in the world. 

The usually the color of beak is yellow, but it’s color will change to black and green in breeding season.