Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tombi, Black-eared Kite


The Black-eared Kite, Milvus Lineatus, is the most common raptor in Japan. In parts of japan it is called Tobi, but in my area it is called Tombi.


They are quite common, especially along the coast and rivers. A few months ago I saw a flock of about 40 circling over my village. Apparently in winter they tend to roost together in larger groups.


They are very opportunistic feeders, sometimes catching small animals but mostly feeding on carrion. They ahve been known to snatch food out of your hands. I was walking along near Hamada port one day eating a sandwich and they kept swooping to within inches of me.



  1. The species name is Milvus migrans, Milvus migrans lineatus being one of the sub-species.

  2. This is cool, and I think it answers my question as to the identity of the beautiful raptors I saw en masse during my visit to the gardens of Kanazawa back in October. Thanks your great blog!

  3. Finally I too have an answer to what I saw so many of on the Kamo river in Kyoto. Thanks!

  4. I teach English in Hawaii and one of my students named the "tombi" when we talked about birds we didn't like! Thank you for this post so that I could understand what he was talking about.