These adorable birds look like flying cotton balls!!

If you ever find yourself on the volcanic island of Hokkaido in Japan don’t be surprised if you think you see flying cotton balls everywhere. Don’t try grabbing them to bring home to clean your makeup off with later though. You might be shocked to find out they’re adorable little birds. Hokkaido Island is home to a very special species of long-tailed tit birds that look exactly like cotton balls with black spots for eyes. [1] Even though these birds are found in other regions of Europe and Asia, the Hokkaido species is especially distinct from the rest. They have pure white faces and cotton-wool-like bodies. The other types of species have brown and grey feathers interwoven with the white, or even sometimes, no white feathers at all. Making them remarkably different looking.

The thing that makes Hokkaido so different from other locations the birds reside is that it has been preserved for centuries as a hub of wildlife and tourism. These birds are so comfortable with humans being around it is normal for them to even land on your shoulder to say hello. They have even earned themselves the nickname Shima-enaga bird, because of how truly special they are.

Floating cotton balls

The birds often travel in large flocks. All the while making these adorable little bird calls to stay in touch with their other flight members. You can easily recognize the unique song that sounds something like ‘si-si-si-si.’

The birds live in such a way that their offspring can all be catered to by other members of the flock. Some members of the commune will stay behind to tend to the tiny babies. While others go out to hunt for worms or bits of food to bring home.

These birds are rather versatile when it comes to where they can live. Although they prefer woodland. If the need arose they could live anywhere from parks and farms to river grasslands and thick forests, but they are mostly found in mixed woodland. They often nest in thick shrub bushes or high up in tree branches where they can protect their chicks from predators. However, they prefer to live in large groups since nesting alone is often very difficult. 

When you go to visit these friendly creatures be sure to bring them a treat. Anything from peanuts, breadcrumbs, tiny seeds, to even pizza crusts. If you do that you will sure to have them flocking all over you. Maybe you could even grab a selfie with one perched on top of your shoulder.


  1. Orginal article accessed Here
  2. ” Long-tailed tit.” Japan Times. Rowan Hooper. Retrieved April 28, 2020.