The bird is the Blue-and-white Flycatcher (Ooruri or Oruri, Cyanoptila cyanomelana), my most favorite. This species is a summer visitor to Japan and neighboring countries around the Japan Sea. The bird is slightly larger than sparrows. The male has blue feathers above and white underparts.
They may be encountered in parks even in large cities like Kyoto during the spring migration. On April 13, 1995 (while I was observing AL Com), a department staff reported a surprise to see this bird through the window of a room in our office.
On arrival to mountains, the male birds have a short competitive episode sometimes called "the meeting of blue birds" to settle their territories. This is the season I most wish to enjoy with these birds, sharing happy moments and the same atmosphere at their meeting.
When mountains become rapidly covered with fresh verdure, they start breeding by mountain streams.
The bird is one of the renowned "the blue birds of happiness".
It is widely believed in Japan that one can become happy if one encounters this bird in the wild. This page is provided with a hope that you can become equally happy upon visit to this page :-)
As you may have noticed, this expression comes from the work "L'Oiseau bleu" ("The Blue Bird") by Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949). Yes, "L'Oiseau bleu" was recognized as one of the greatest achievements by Maeterlinck when he received the Nobel Prize in 1911. This story is very popular in Japan, and is frequently symbolically referred -- a number of "blue bird" related names and items in Japanese society often stem from this work. Although the blue bird in Maeterlink's original work referred to a dove, what birds come to Japanese mind when referring to "blue birds of happiness" are these blue flycatchers and robins, including the best renowned this species. "The Betrothal" ("A Sequel to the Blue Bird") is another intuitive, beutiful piece of work worth reading. The both stories are in a paperback available from guidance.org.
Another bird-related fantasic story comes to my mind is "Wonderful Adventure of Nils" (1906) by Selma Lagerlof (1858-1940), who was the first woman writer to win the Nobel Prize in 1909. I freshly remember happy hours and days, and even in a dream, when I first encountered this story.
Speaking of the blue birds, one may imagine the Tchaikovski's famous ballet "La Belle au Bois Dormant" ("The Sleeping Beauty"). The blue birds (a famous pas de deux) appearing in this ballet are different from Maeterlinck's, but is from a fairy tale by Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy. [English text available online]
(from English translation of L'Oiseau Bleu, by Madame d'Aulnoy)
These pictures are taken by Sekirei-san (a network friend of mine; the name "Sekirei" means the wagtail in Japanese). These pictures, I believe, are very representative of wonderful encounter with the Blue-and-white flycatcher on his very arrival.
Some ornithoology topics in vsnet-chat
A song of the Blue-and-white flycatcher (.wav) The songs of this species most strongly vary from individual to individual. This song is one of such varieties. One can even discern individuals without any specifial instruments.
Female song The Blue-and-white flycatcher is one of relatively rare Japanese songbirds whose female also sings.
The "duet" of the pair The louder song is by female, the male sings from the far above.
The (sub?)song of Mugimaki flycatcher (Ficedula Mugimaki), a relatively rare passenger.
(Mostly in Japanese with pictures)
http://www.mmjp.or.jp/WBSJ-Kyoto/birds/ooruri.html Wild Bird Society of Japan (Kyoto branch)
Wild Bird Society of Japan (in Japanese)
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