Uguisu

Cettia diphone

Last updated: April 3, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Cory / Creative Commons / Original

Their guano is used in face creams!


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Uguisu Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Passeriformes
Family
Cettiidae
Genus
Cettia
Scientific Name
Cettia diphone

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Uguisu Conservation Status

Uguisu Locations

Uguisu Locations

Uguisu Facts

Prey
Insects, Worms, Berries
Name Of Young
Chick
Group Behavior
  • Solitary
Fun Fact
Their guano is used in face creams!
Estimated Population Size
Stable
Biggest Threat
Habitat loss
Most Distinctive Feature
Has light-coloured lines above the eyes
Other Name(s)
Japanese Bush-Warbler, Singing Bush-warbler, Oriental Bush-warbler
Wingspan
20cm - 22cm (7.9in - 9in)
Incubation Period
2 - 3 weeks
Age Of Fledgling
12 - 15 days
Habitat
lowlands and mountain forests
Predators
Cats, Snakes, Birds Of Prey
Diet
Omnivore
Lifestyle
  • Diurnal
Common Name
Uguisu
Number Of Species
1
Location
Japan, China, Korea
Average Clutch Size
3
Slogan
Their guano is used in face creams!
Group
Bird

Uguisu Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Green
  • Olive
Skin Type
Feathers
Top Speed
18 mph
Lifespan
2 - 5 years
Weight
15g - 22g (0.5oz - 0.7oz)
Length
14cm - 16.5cm (5.5in - 6.5in)
Age of Sexual Maturity
10 - 12 months

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Classification and Evolution

The natural range of this rather miniature avian exists in East Asia. The Uguisu can be found in China, Japan, Korea, Manchuria, the Philippines, and Taiwan. A relative of the nightingale, the bushtit, and other diminutive songbirds, it is also referred to as the Japanese nightingale owing to the beauty of its song. However, it is more commonly known as the Japanese bush warbler, a more appropriate name, since the avian does not sing at night. Its singing ability meant it was targeted as a pet of sorts, a considerable downside for the bird. In Japan, the bird’s presence and its singing is regarded as a sign of spring. The Uguisu can also be found in the United States, having been brought to Hawaii in the early 20th century where it has since thrived.

Anatomy and Appearance

The Uguisu has a drab coloring but sings beautifully

The Uguisi is rather small in size with small dark eyes, a slightly long dark beak, and drab plumage which may either be olive-green or pale brown darkening at the points of the wings and tail. It can also be recognized its thin legs ending in slender toes with claws at their tips to enable the bird to firmly grasp branches it is perched on. There is also its tail which is somewhat reminiscent of a long-tailed tit’s. It is not only rather lengthy but is also made of straight feathers.

Distribution and Habitat

The songbird can be found in East Asia and even Europe too. The Uguisu’s range tends to include China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and even Russia. It is also a seasonal visitor to Taiwan. The bird tends to favor dense foliage which can be found in bamboo thickets and forests where it can conceal itself from predators while snacking on nourishing fare.

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The avian generally prefers mountain forests, and lowland hills, and isn’t particularly choosy about altitude during warmer months. When winter however arrives, it takes to lower altitudes, where the weather is less severe.

Behavior and Lifestyle

The Uguisu is solitary by nature and is also elusive

©Cory / Creative Commons

Uguisu are generally elusive and secretive by nature. They also prefer to conceal themselves in thick foliage in the daytime. They are also pretty solitary and while they are quite adaptable in terms of elevation during the spring (being capable of living at low or high elevations), they prefer to live at lower elevations in winter. Depending on their location, they may also seek out warmer climes and migrate as the temperature drops. During colder months, they tend to be less active until spring comes around again. Since it is their breeding season, they can be heard singing in the hopes of attracting a potential mate.

Reproduction and Life Cycles

As far as birds go, Uguisu are not particularly long-lived. In general, they tend to have a lifespan ranging between 2 – 5 years in their natural habitat. Appearance-wise, both genders are pretty similar as opposed to certain species where males may have a brighter color of plumage compared to females. However female Uguisu are smaller compared to their male counterparts. The latter use their song in place of colorful plumage to attract a mate at the beginning of spring.

Afterward the female Uguisu will lay a maximum of five small eggs in bowl-like nest in thick foliage. The nest itself is made of leaves, twigs, or moss and the bird will incubate those eggs until they hatch about three weeks later. The mother will care for the hatchlings herself for about a fortnight when they will leave the nest.

Diet and Prey

Uguisu are fond of fruit and insects

©Alexander Mirochnik / Creative Commons

Like several small birds, the Uguisis tends to be mainly insectivorous although it will also nibble on plant matter, on occasion. As a result, it may be considered to be an omnivore. For the most part, beetles, moths, Grasshoppers, and worms are some of its favorite foods. It also has something of a sweet tooth since it is also fond of berries and fruit, too.

Food, is a key factor which influences the bird’s choice to migrate, since it becomes scarce during winter, and is more likely to be abundant at lower elevations.

Predators and Threats

Swainson Hawk

Birds of prey such as hawks may help themselves to an uguisu for dinner

©Rob McKay/Shutterstock.com

There are several threats to the songbird’s safety. These include humans who are steadily encroaching on its natural habitat to build towns and cities. They also include its natural enemies out in the wild, including birds of prey, such as eagles, falcons, and hawks. Wild felines and canines also constitute a source of danger to the Uguisu as do reptiles such as lizards and snakes.

That said, the bird itself does have a rather helpful feature which does enable it to avoid becoming food for larger carnivores while searching for tasty morsels under dense coverage. Thanks to its drab plumage which enables it to blend in with its surroundings, it can be pretty easy to spot by a hungry predator in search of a meal, feathery or otherwise.

Interesting Facts and Features

In addition to helping them find a mate, Uguisu also use their songs to declare their territory to their other relatives in the area. Because of their association with spring, they are known in Japan as the spring or Hanami birds. Other than their vocal ability, Uguisu are also treasured for another unlikely quality: their droppings, or their guano. As a matter of fact, these droppings were used by geishas and kabuki actors as a makeup remover and a skin care remedy. Uguisu droppings were also used as a fabric stain remover, particularly on silk and to remove dyes from clothing.

Relationship with Humans

Logging and the clearing of land for cultivation are just a few factors affecting the habitat of the Japanese warbler. These threats aside, the Uguisu has played and continues to play a key role in Japanese culture and has been celebrated in poetry and works of art in the country on account of its beautiful singing. Unfortunately for the birds, they were also kept in cages too, as a result. At present, some of them are kept in facilities where they live free from the threat of predators and snack on organic seeds. There they are farmed for their guano which is sterilized, and dried thoroughly before being packaged and sold for use in skincare.

Conservation Status and Life Today

The Uguisu’s presence in various countries and its ability to thrive at varying altitudes and habitats, means its natural range is rather extensive. As a result, it is classified on the IUCN Red List as Least Concern. However, in spite of its stable population in certain regions, concerns of deforestation affecting the species in other locations, have also arisen.

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About the Author

I love good books and the occasional cartoon. I am also endlessly intrigued with the beauty of nature and find hummingbirds, puppies, and marine wildlife to be the most magical creatures of all.

Uguisu FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Uguisus herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Uguisus are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Uguisus belong to?

Uguisus belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What phylum to Uguisus belong to?

Uguisus belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Uguisus belong to?

Uguisus belong to the family Cettiidae.

What order do Uguisus belong to?

Uguisus belong to the order Passeriformes.

What type of covering do Uguisus have?

Uguisus are covered in Feathers.

What genus do Uguisus belong to?

Uguisus belong to the genus Cettia.

Where do Uguisus live?

Uguisus live in Japan, China, and Korea.

In what type of habitat do Uguisus live?

Uguisus live in lowlands and mountain forests.

What are some predators of Uguisus?

Predators of Uguisus include cats, snakes, and birds of prey.

How many eggs do Uguisus lay?

Uguisus typically lay 3 eggs.

What is an interesting fact about Uguisus?

The guano of Uguisus is used in face creams!

What is the scientific name for the Uguisu?

The scientific name for the Uguisu is Cettia diphone.

What is the lifespan of an Uguisu?

Uguisus can live for 2 to 5 years.

How many species of Uguisu are there?

There is 1 species of Uguisu.

What is the biggest threat to the Uguisu?

The biggest threat to the Uguisu is habitat loss.

What is the Uguisu's wingspan?

The Uguisu has a wingspan of 20cm to 22cm (7.9in to 9in).

What is another name for the Uguisu?

The Uguisu is also called the Japanese bush-warbler, singing bush-warbler, or oriental bush-warbler.

How fast is an Uguisu?

An Uguisu can travel at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour.

How to say Uguisu in ...
German
Japanbuschsänger
English
Japanese Bush-warbler
Japanese
ウグイス
Dutch
Japanse struikzanger
Chinese
日本树莺

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2011) Animal, The Definitive Visual Guide To The World's Wildlife
  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals
  3. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
  4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species
  5. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals
  6. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals
  7. Christopher Perrins, Oxford University Press (2009) The Encyclopedia Of Birds
  8. Uguisu Facts, Available here: http://www.lauriesliltykechildcare.com/japanesebushwarbler.htm
  9. Japanese Bush-Warblers, Available here: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=7542
  10. Uguisu Distribution, Available here: http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/148331/0

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