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Recent Records of Birds in Korea

Chester M. Fennell
5 (September-October)
From Field and Study
Online Text:

Recent Records of Birds in Korea.-According to Austin (Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 101, 1948:43), the Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticoraz nycticorax) is a rare straggler in Korea and known only from three records taken between 1925 and 1928; no specimens apparently, were saved. On December 17, 1960, I purchased a dead juvenal female of this species in the South Gate Market, Seoul, and preserved it as a skin. It weighed 515 gm. This is the only record of this species I have made during the past seven years of residence in Korea.

On September 15, 1956, Lt. Harvey L. Patten collected a single male Swinhoe Snipe (Cagella megab). It was shot when flushed from a wet rice paddy along the coast of the Yellow Sea approximately 5 miles northeast of Inchon, Kyonggi-do. It weighed 160 gm. and was fat. This specimen was preserved as a skin. Identification was made by Kenneth C. Parkes of the Carnegie Museum. Austin (op. cit.:124) refers to this species as a rare transient in Korea and lists a total of only seven specimens taken between 1880 and 1934. To date, this is my only encounter with the species in Korea.

On January 21, 1961, I purchased two dead Ring Doves (Streprope& decaocto sfoliczkae) in the South Gate Market, Seoul, and saved them as skins. One was a male which weighed 174 gm. The sex of the other was not determined; it weighed 159 gm. The stomachs of both contained rice and beans. Austin (op. c&.:141) refers to this species as “evidently an uncommon resident of local distribution, formerly more abundant than it is today.” He lists a total of 23 specimens taken between 1883 and 1929. This is the first time I have encountered the species in the past seven years of residence in Korea.

On May 31, 1960, I collected, in Seoul, a single male Arctic Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis) of the race eramtnatius. Identification and racial determination were made by Herbert G. Deignan of the United States National Museum. The specimen was captured in a mist net on the United States Army Compound in a grassy, brushy area, sparsely wooded with chestnuts. It weighed 10 gm. The gonads were slightly enlarged and measured 4.0 X 4.5 and 3.5 X 4.0 mm., respectively. Austin (op, c&:215) was unable to confirm the record in the 1942 Japanese Hand-List of this form for Korea and found no trace of a specimen having been taken. Accordingly, the 1958 edition of the Hand-List (p.63) states “Recorded from Korea (doubtfully once) Austin, Jr., Bds. Korea, 1948 (no specimen).” Consequently, my specimen appears to constitute the first definite record of this race , for Korea.

I am grateful to Herbert G. Deignan of the United States National Museum and Richard C. Banks of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology for assistance in the identification of specimens taken and to Harvey L. Patten for the donation of the specimen of the Swinhoe Snipe. All specimens taken are deposited in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.-CHESTER M. FENNELL, Seoul, Korea, Januury 26,1961. 

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