蕪島 / Kabushima

A Designated Japanese Cultural Property since March 8, 1922


Kabu Island: A Breeding Ground for Black-Tailed Gulls (Natural Monument)


Black-tailed gulls (Larus crassirostris) are seabirds of the subfamily Larinae, related to terns and skimmers. They live on the coast of East Asia, but every year in February, the birds fly to KABU ISLAND to breed. Until they leave in July, the island is truly a black-tailed gull heaven, since the local bird population swells to about 40,000.


Most of the breeding grounds for black-tailed gulls are remote places or solitary island. KABU ISLAND, on the other hand, is rather close to the city, so is therefore quite a rarity.


The black-tailed gulls often gather over large schools of fish. The fisherman use this information to location the fish. They protect the black-tailed gulls as "messengers of good luck". On the top of KABU ISLAND is Itsukushima Shrine. The shrine is dedicated to Benzaiten, the Indian Goddess of good luck. Benzaiten is symbolic of the black-tailed gulls and the good fortune they bring.

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Taken on April 3, 2012