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Wildlife of Metropolitan Sayama Natural Park

Northern Goshawk

The male northern goshawk (Accipiter gentili) is approximately 50 centimeters long, and the female is approximately 56 centimeters. Their wingspan ranges from about 105 to 130 centimeters. The northern goshawk is at the top of the food chain. A few mating pairs reproduce in the Sayama Hills, and northern goshawks can sometimes be seen flying in Higashi-Murayama. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers, who protect these birds by keeping an eye out for illegal hunting, the northern goshawk is still building nests and reproducing. Many bird-watchers gather at the observation deck in Noyamakita-Rokudoyama Park to observe how the northern goshawk hunts. These birds are classified as near-threatened on the Ministry of the Environment Red List, and as threatened in the Tokyo Red Data Book.

Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentili)


The smew (Mergus albellus) has a body length of about 42 centimeters. The adult males are also called panda kamo, or “panda ducks,” because their bodies are white with black markings around the eyes and on the back of the head, the outer chest, the back, and the scapulars. This bird lives in lakes, swamps, ponds, and rivers and feeds on fish, frogs, insects, crustaceans, and the seeds of plants. The smew migrates to the area as a winter bird and spends the winter in the ponds of Higashi-Murayama Municipal Kitayama Park. The Japanese name, mikoaisa, is derived from the fact that the body patterns of the male resemble the white gown of a shrine maiden, or miko.

Smew (Mergus albellus)

Meadow Bunting

The meadow bunting (Emberiza cioides) is a member of the family Emberizidae. It has a total body length of about 17 centimeters. The meadow bunting lives on Yakushima and in locations further north, and prefers relatively open environments. It inhabits forests, fields and farmland from the lowlands to the mountains. It is omnivorous and feeds on plant seeds that have fallen to the ground. The meadow bunting inhabits green fields in Higashi-Murayama, such as those in Sayama Park. A small population of meadow buntings spends the winter in locations such as Metropolitan Hachikokuyama Park and Higashi-Murayama Municipal Kitayama Park. While many species of the genus Emberiza have a short, succinct call, the meadow bunting can be distinguished by its repetitive chittering call.

Meadow bunting (Emberiza cioides)

Long-Tailed Tit

The long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus) has a total length of: about 14 centimeters. It is a member of the family Aegithalidae and the order Passeriformes The long-tailed tit lives in Kyushu and further north, and inhabits the forests of flatlands and mountains. It may form flocks with types of titmice in winter. It feeds on insects while moving through the forests. It is sometimes seen in mixed forests throughout the year in areas such as Metropolitan Hachikokuyama Park and Sayama Park. The long-tailed tit has several distinctive trilling calls.

Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus)

Red-Flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus)

The red-flanked bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus) is a member of the family Turdidae. It has a total length of about 14 centimeters. The males’ most distinguishable feature is their blue color. The males have sharp white brows, and have orange markings on their sides. Females have a very small blue area on the tail. The red-flanked bluetail reproduces in summer in coniferous forests in sub-alpine zones in Shikoku and further north, up into Honshu. It arrives in the Sayama Hills in winter. These birds spend the winter in dark lowland forests, feed primarily on insects that they find on the ground. Their high, chirping call can sometimes be heard right after they arrive in the area in winter.

Red-flanked bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus)

Indian Spot-Billed Duck (Anas zonorhyncha)

The Indian spot-billed duck (Anas zonorhyncha) has a total length of about 60 centimeters. The Indian spot-billed duck often attracts attention in Tokyo and can be seen near bodies of water in the central part of Tokyo. It lives and reproduces in a variety of environments, such as ponds, swamps, and rivers, around Japan throughout the year. It is omnivorous and feeds on leaves and fruits. Families and groups of Indian spot-billed ducks are commonly seen near and in the water around Lake Tama and around Higashi-Murayama, where there are many rivers.

Indian spot-billed duck (Anas zonorhyncha)

Dogtooth Violet

This perennial herb in the family Liliaceae blooms in the early spring. The plant bears beautiful and bright lavender-colored flowers, which bloom from mid-March to mid-April. The dogtooth violet takes eight years to take root and bear flowers, and it blooms for only a short time. Thus, it is also called a “spring ephemeral.” White dogtooth violets are extremely rare, and the chance of a dogtooth violet plant bearing white flowers is said to be one in tens of thousands.

Dogtooth violet (Erythronium japonicum Decne.)

Japanese Fairy Bells

Japanese fairy bells (Disporum smilacinum) are a perennial herb in the family Liliaceae. They grow over a wide area, in the lowlands and mountains from Honshu to Yakushima. The height of the plant is 15 to 30 centimeters. The individual flowers are not very noticeable, but they often form colonies and become eye-catching to hikers. These plants bear small white downward-facing flowers at the tips of their stems. Each flower has six petals and reaches a diameter of 2 to 2.5 centimeters. The flowers bloom around April and May. In summer, after the flowers wilt, the plant produces black fruits. The Japanese name, chigo-yuri, is derived from the resemblance of the small, delicate flowers to small children (chigo).
(C)Seibu Sayama Hills Partners

Japanese fairy bells

Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica subsp. japonica)

The Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica subsp. Japonica) is a low evergreen shrub that belongs to the genus Pieris, in the family Ericaceae. These shrubs usually reach a height of three to five meters. In the mountains, wild Japanese andromeda sometimes grows to a height of six meters. The leaves are deep green and lustrous. Many bell-shaped flowers, about seven millimeters in size, bloom in clusters in spring. When they reach full bloom, the flowers seem to cover the entire tree. Japanese andromeda is an early-blooming shrub, with flowers that bloom from February to April. The Japanese andromeda is a toxic plant. Its leaves, bark, and flowers are highly poisonous, so caution is required.

Japanese andromeda (Pieris japonica subsp. japonica)

Mondo Grass

Mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus) is a perennial herb in the family of Liliaceae. It is larger than the dwarf lilyturf (Ophiopogon japonicus) that is often planted in gardens and parks. The height of the plant is 15 to 30 centimeters. One stem produces many small downward-facing flowers, which are white with a light purple tint, from around June to July. Like the dwarf lilyturf and the lily turf, mondo grass produces seeds that look like round blue fruits in autumn. Its dark green blades are hard, long, and narrow. Each blade is four to seven millimeters wide and fairly thick. It reproduces by spreading its rhizomes over the ground like a carpet.

Mondo grass

Agrimonia japonica

Agrimonia japonica is a perennial herb in the family of Rosaceae. It grows on roadsides and grasslands to a height of 30 to 80 centimeters. From July to October, it produces spikes of small yellow flowers at the tops of long stems. After the flowers wilt, the plant produces fruit covered with hook-like thorns that cling to clothing, hair, and animal fur, enabling them to be distributed easily. The Japanese name, kinmizuhiki, means that the clusters of small yellow flowers resemble gold strings.

Agrimonia japonica

Japanese fir

The Japanese fir (Abies firma) is a species that is native to Japan. It is an evergreen conifer in the genus Abies and the family Pinaceae. Among the species in the family Pinaceae that can be found in Japan, the Japanese fir lives in the warmest areas. It is characterized by its large, stiff needles. Although it is a large tree that grows to a height of around 30 meters, its life span is relatively short: about 250 years at the longest. The family Pinaceae has many species with whitish-gray tree bark. The bark of the Japanese fir, however, is gray, and turns a dark brownish-gray when the tree gets older. The bark then splits like the scales of a fish, and falls off. Wild Japanese fir trees can be found near the ridges of the Sayama Hills.

A Japanese fir tree


このページの担当は自然環境部 緑環境課 自然公園計画担当です。

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