by Y. Furuno
The bird that is elegant, graceful, and the tail is very long can be seen at Onagadori center(Nakoku-shi Shinohara 48), the Tosa Ken center(Kochi-shi Urato 6), and the dragon river cave(Kami-shi Tosayamada-cho) in Kochi. Luster and externals of shuttlecock are different from the chicken, but we may think these birds look like usual chickens. These birds are called Onagadori, and are very familiar with people come to go sightseeing.
Description ＆ Taxonomy
The male bird’s tail becomes extremely long and this tail is the longest in the existence birds, but they are a kind of chicken. Therefore, that long-tailed cocks are called “Onagadori”. Onagadori is special natural treasure.
The chicken usually molt once a year but male’s Onagadori grows the rectrix and doesn’t change, so Onagadori’s rectrix becomes very long.
The mean weight is a male 1,800g, female 1,350g, and the kind on the inside includes a white wisteria kind, a white kind, the red bamboo grass kind, five color kind, and the orangutan kind. The white wisteria kind’s tail becomes longest in them.
History ＆ Ecology
It is said that Onagadori was born from mutation of chicken (a breed ”Shoukoku”)that Toshiemon Takeichi was raising in Tsa-koku Omura-cho ( present:Kochi-ken nannkoku-shi) in Edo period.
Though the length of the tail was about 3 meters until the Meiji era, the tail came to became longer because the breeding box that is called “tomebako” were developed in Taisho era. This box is 1.8m in height and one bird put inside, and a structure that extremely controls movement so that the Onagadori should not go out of the box and the rectrix should not be damaged. Breeding member rolls the long rectrix in the hand, when let it out of box to do light movement. Thus the tail came to become longer.
But the tail is 80 centimeters-1 meters in one year when Onagadori is young, speed that tail grows become slow as the chicken aged. When Onagadori lives long, the length of the tail reach 10m and highest record of Onagadori was living for 18 years, becoming length of 13m.
However, the tail doesn’t usually become long too much, and the long one is about 7m now. It specified in the natural monument in March, 1923 and it was specified again by the special natural treasure in 1952.
Use & Preservation
It is said that the probability of the tail grows up long is very low so that about 1 every 1500 pieces from 1000 pieces of the egg, but Onagadori is propagated by human and turned the breeding breed.
Before, people had the spear decorated with Onagadori’s tail wing at the head hangs of daimyo procession, and walked in the Tosa-Han in Edo period. As a result, it is said prestige and power were shown off by Onagadori’s wing attracted attention.
Now, the name is widely known to foreign countries as the most magnificent bird in a lot of kinds of the world, and the appearance is used for illustrations and kimonos of the embroidery and art etc.
It has been understood that it decreases in the original home, Kochi-ken Nankoku-shi, because hybridization of the individual with original DNA type that tail grows easily and the individual of the crossbreed advanced. It seems that it is important to defend a beautiful appearance by doing examine DNA and choose the individual succeeds original DNA type for reservation of kind.
If you would like to see beautiful bird, try to visit the place where Onagadoris are exhibited, Onagadori center (Nakoku-shi Shinohara 48), the Tosa Ken center(Kochi-shi Urato 6), and dragon river cave(Kami-shi Tosayamada-cho).
You can not only see slowly and carefully to Onagadoris that are putted in box and stopping there and boxed but also touch those !! You can put Onagadori on the palm gently and take a picture with Onagadori as a souvenior.
You will surely be surprised at the graceful figure.