The Japanese sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis is a small raptor that breeds in Northeast Asia. The species consists of the widespread and mostly migratory subspecies A. g. gularis that is common in East Asia, including Japan, and the resident and endangered subspecies A. g. iwasakii which inhabits the Ryukyu and Yaeyama Islands in Okinawa, southern Japan. Given the minimal knowledge about the migration of the species, in this study we sought to compare the genetic variation of the populations breeding in Japan with those migrating through Southeast Asia. We sequenced 761 bp of mitochondrial DNA Control Region from each of 21 A. gularis collected during the breeding season in Japan and from 20 individuals intercepted on migration in Thailand. We detected 26 haplotypes among the 41 individuals which differed significantly between Japan and Thailand. Migrants in Thailand were presumed to have originated from a wide area in Eastern Eurasia. The phylogenetic and network analyses demonstrated that the haplotypes of all A. g. gularis detected in Japan were genetically close. Moreover, the Okinawa haplotypes of A. g. iwasakii were clustered with moderate genetic variation. The information presented here can be used towards implementing future conservation actions.
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Vol. 37 • No. 3