These adorable tiny birds from Japan look like little cotton balls

April 6th, 2021

Long-tailed tits are birds that can be found scattered across Europe and Asia. They are quite common. However, if you head to the island of Hokkaido in Japan, you’ll find a variety that stands apart from all of the others. On Hokkaido, the Long-tailed tits look exactly like cotton balls.

Revered by the locals and tourists alike, in Japan, they call the bird the Shima Enaga.

They are absolutely adorable and one of the cutest types of birds that we have ever seen.

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The island of Hokkaido is already known for its incredible diversity of wildlife.

It’s home to six different national parks and spans several different ecosystems. There are ocean trails and beaches along the coast, as well as forests lined with towering mountains, and volcanos next to inland lakes.

The most important consideration for our discussion of the Long-tailed tit though involves the island’s change of seasons. In the long winter months, much of the island gets covered in snow.

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The snow is the likely cause of the Shima Enaga’s different characteristics compared to other Long-tailed tits.

Whereas many varieties have brown or gray markings on the front, the Shima Enaga is almost entirely white. It looks like a little snowball.

There are dark markings that appear on many Long-tailed tits located right above the eyes that are often referred to as eyebrows. However, on the Shima Enaga subspecies, the eyebrows are mysteriously absent.

It’s caused them to become somewhat of an Internet meme in the last year.

People on social media can’t get enough of the adorable little birds. Of course, many people were quick to point out how they resemble fluffy cotton balls in their appearance.

Although, do you notice how in every photo, there is only one Long-tailed tit pictured?

It’s because the cotton ball appearance only really works when the bird is viewed from the front angle. Since all varieties of Long-tailed tits have black markings on the backs of the wings, the Shima Enaga only really looks so unique when viewed from the front.

If there are more birds in the picture, the cute illusion isn’t really as noticeable. Seeing them in real-life with the whole flock together, it likely wouldn’t be as memorable.

When it’s not breeding season, Long-tailed tits typically fly around in flock sizes of between six and seventeen members. While they measure in length to around 15 centimeters (6 inches), about half of that length is the tail.

They are called Long-tailed tits for a reason, but overall, the species is quite tiny.

They have to lay large amounts of eggs to make up for it. Since their miniature size makes them more vulnerable to predators than other large bird species, Long-tailed tits regularly lay as many as seven to ten eggs in every batch.

The more the merrier, we say, and the tinier, the better!

Although the size is somewhat of a risk factor for the species, on the other hand, their small size is also part of what makes them so cute. Technically, the Shima Enaga are much bigger than actual cotton balls, but when viewed from a distance, they might just fool you anyway.

People are even making funny food creations shaped like the adorable birds.

That might be taking things a little bit too far though.

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What do you think? The Shima Enaga sure are cute, but is there really a market for edible marshmallows decorated like them?

Check out another photo of the tiny birds that look like cotton balls below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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Sources: 22 Words, MyModernMet, Instagram, Bird Life International, Wikipedia, Japan Guide