Monday, June 16, 2008

Kumataka / Mountain Hawk-eagle

I have always been curious about the raptor depicted in the two images below. I finally got around to figuring out what it is, (not terribly difficult in the age of the internet), I picked up some Japanese field guides when I was in Japan, which gave me the latin name. The species name is Spizaetus nipalensis, in Japanese it is called a Kumataka and in English it is known as a Mountain Hawk-eagle, a weirdly awkward, but kind of cool name.

Fukagawa Susaki Jumantsubo (5/1857) from the 100 Views of Edo series by Hiroshige

Kumataka catching a monkey, illustration from Nigiri Kobushi (The Clenched Fist) a Japanese manual for falconry published in 1750, I found the image in Japanese Book Illustration by Yu-Ying Brown, 1988

I am not sure about the title of this book (the only English says Field Best Encyclopedia vol. 8: Wild Birds in Japan) but it was one of the better photo based field guides I could find in Japan. The Kumataka is clutching a duck in the picture, just like it is clutching a monkey in the illustration.

This is the best illustration based field Guide that I found in Japan, it appears to be their closest approximation to the Sibley Guides here. The Kumataka is in the upper right. I like the cover.

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