A Kuro Gashiwa rooster
Photo © Marc King
Text courtesy of
This rooster (the image above) comes from a line developed in North Central Japan and shows the particularly beautiful form and fullness of tail feathers.
There are usually two predominately long feathers, the two upper main sickels, which reach a length of up to 1 metre. In their second year, the secondary sickels reach the ground and grow nearly the length of the main upper sickles. The saddle feathers are full but not expressly long.
This rooster's crow is long and deep, without undulation and sounds very un-chicken-like. The first crows of our rooster caused me to run out outside to see what manner of beast had come into the garden. The faces of the hens are completely black, the roosters' are black-red with much black pigmentation at the base of the singel combs. The soles of their feet are dark olive and the legs are black with olive hints. The nails on their toes should be dark ivory-grey. A large bird, the hens have an excellent brooding nature and are excellent mothers. If regularly handled, this breed can be very tame.
My breeding stock and that of Knut Roeder in Osnabrčck, Germany are the only known birds of this race outside of Japan at the present. In the last century no birds of this breed were allowed out of the country and after the gift of eggs given to Knut in 1996, permission for export of this extremely rare bird was revoked.
Please note the distinctively long sickles in the tail but the "normally short" saddle feathers. This is an important difference between the Tomaru and the Kuro Gashiwa. The Gashiwa is a longtail fowl breed of antiquity, the Tomaru is a country chicken type with a beautiful, long crow and the pitch-black pigmentation of the Kuro Gashiwa but not the up to 1 meter long main sickles as seen in the birds above. Another distinguishing factor is the horizontally carried tail and back in the Gashiwa. The Tomaru has a tail that is carried higher and it is pronouncedly longer-legged than the Gashiwa.
Kuro Gashiwa Links:
Marc King's Kuro Gashiwa page
This is a page with some historical pictures of Kurokashiwa -- click on the bottom link in the left column and scroll to the bottom
A Kurokashiwa male from the UK
Photo courtesy of Rupert Stephenson
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Direct questions and comments to Barry at FeatherSite -- questions and comments