I welcome you to this series of articles intended for the discovery of Korean animals and, in particular, birds.
Indeed, the Korean peninsula seems like a real paradise! Because, in South Korea alone, there are no less than 500 species of birds present. Korea is home to many species of birds native to China, Russia, and Japan. The diversity of possible habitats for these birds multiplies their presence! a.
The Oriental magpie (Pica serica) is a species of magpie found from south-eastern Russia and Myanmar to eastern China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and northern Indochina. It is also a common symbol of the Korean identity and has been adopted as the “official bird” of numerous South Korean cities, counties, and provinces. Other names for the Oriental magpie include Korean magpie and Asian magpie.
It is somewhat stockier than the Eurasian magpie, with a proportionally shorter tail and longer wings. The back, tail, and remiges show strong purplish-blue iridescence with few green hues. They are the largest magpies. They have a rump plumage that is mostly black, with but a few and often hidden traces of the white band that connects the white shoulder patches in their relatives. The Oriental magpie has the same call as the Eurasian magpie, albeit much softer.
The white-naped crane and the red-crowned crane
The white-naped crane (Antigone vipio) is a bird of the crane family. It is a large bird, 112–125 cm (44–49 in) long, about 130 cm (4.3 ft) tall, and weighing about 5.6 kg (12 lb), with pinkish legs, a grey-and-white-striped neck, and a red face patch.
The white-naped crane breeds in northeastern Mongolia, northeastern China, and adjacent areas of southeastern Russia, where a program at Khingan Nature Reserve raises eggs provided by U.S. zoos to bolster the species. Different groups of birds migrate to winter near the Yangtze River, the Korean Demilitarized Zone, and Kyūshū in Japan. They are the only cranes found in South Korea. They also reach Kazakhstan and Taiwan. Only about 4,900 to 5,400 individuals remain in the wild.
Its diet consists mainly of insects, seeds, roots, plants, and small animals.
Due to ongoing habitat loss and overhunting in some areas, the white-naped crane is considered vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed in Appendix I and II of CITES. In South Korea, it has been designated natural monument 203
The mandarin duck (Aix galericulata) is a perching duck species native to the East Palearctic. It is medium-sized, 41–49 cm (16–19 in) long, with a 65–75 cm (26–30 in) wingspan. It is closely related to the North American wood duck, the only other member of the genus Aix. ‘Aix’ is an Ancient Greek word that Aristotle used to refer to an unknown diving bird, and ‘galericulata’ is the Latin for a wig, derived from galerum, a cap, or bonnet.
The adult male has a red bill, large white crescent above the eye, a reddish face, and “whiskers”. The male’s breast is purple with two vertical white bars, the flanks ruddy, and he has two orange “sails” at the back (large feathers that stick up like boat sails). The female is similar to the female wood duck, with a white eye ring and stripe running back from the eye, but is paler below, has a small white flank stripe, and a pale tip to its bill.
The males and females have crests, but the purple crest is more pronounced on the males.
Like many other species of ducks, the male undergoes a molt after the mating season into eclipse plumage. In eclipse plumage, the male looks similar to the female but can be told apart by its bright yellow-orange or red beak, lack of any crest, and a less-pronounced eye-stripe.
Mandarin ducklings are almost identical in appearance to wood ducklings and very similar to mallard ducklings. The ducklings can be distinguished from mallard ducklings because the eye stripe of mandarin ducklings (and wood ducklings) stops at the eye, while it reaches the bill in mallard ducklings.
Tristram’s woodpecker is a Korean subspecies of the white-bellied woodpecker. English scholar and ornithologist Henry Baker Tristram first identified and described it in 1879.
Tristram’s woodpecker, with its 46 cm length, is among the largest of all woodpeckers. The tuft and the cheek patches are crimson red; its upper parts are black, contrasting with its white underparts, wing tips, and white rump. It has four toes, of which two are directed backward. Its tail feathers are firm. Its native name was derived from its strange call, which sounds like “kullak!”