Urbanization and its implications for avian aggression: A case study of urban black kites (Milvus migrans) along Sagami Bay in Japan

Dana M. Galbreath, Tomohiro Ichinose, Tomoyuki Furutani, Wanglin Yan, Hiroyoshi Higuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Urbanization has caused countless changes in the lives, behaviors, and community structures of wild animals. Habitat loss in urban areas has led to the proliferation of certain species over others; in the case of birds, frugivores and certain predators can be found in abundance in cities. These birds, however, occasionally show novel behaviors that can cause stress within human-wildlife interactions. The black kite, Milvus migrans, for example, has displayed a tendency to attack humans for their food in certain urban areas in Japan. In order to determine how habitat availability and land-use types affected these aggressive tendencies, field observations were combined with GIS analysis of five locations along Sagami Bay in Japan. The following locations were assessed according to the amount of each land-use type present and the aggressive tendencies of each location's black kite population: Enoshima, Fujisawa; Kamakura Beach, Kamakura; Zushi Beach, Zushi; Oiso Beach, Oiso; and Iwa Beach, Manazuru. The aggression of each population, designated by the log of the aggression index, was found to be significantly affected by the amount of forest area per black kite, the amount of non-rice-paddy agricultural area per black kite, and the season. Thus, aggression was higher amongst populations with less forested or agricultural area within their foraging zones, and aggression increased during spring, which is the breeding season.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-178
Number of pages10
JournalLandscape Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan


  • Behavior
  • Disturbance
  • GIS
  • Green space
  • Habitat availability
  • Land-use types

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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