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ウワヨレ (uwayore): One pair; the uppermost covert feathers that grow in twisted fashion; do not molt

尾覆(ofuku): 3-4 pairs at top; do not molt

謡羽(utaibane): 1 pair; topmost of the dragging tail feathers (hikio); do not molt

小謡羽(sho-utaibane): Lesser or mutant sickles; 3-4 pairs at top; do not molt

コウガイ(kougai): 1 pair; altered main tail feathers at top row(?); topmost of the main tail feathers; molts yearly*

コウゲ(kouge): 1 pair: altered main tail feathers outside the row(?); molts every 3 to 4 years.

Kawari-honge (変わり本毛; also known as "kouge") is an altered feather of the main tail and is the widest, with feather shaft that is fine, elastic and strong, reaching length of around 3 meters. The number of this feather determines the quality of the Onagadori. In other words, the altered feather count can range from 1 to 4, and an individual with 4 such feathers is prized most highly.

裏尾(urao; literally “backside tail”): 1 pair; molts every 3-4 years.

Along with the altered feather, kouge, the urao (literally, back tail) also molts once every 3 to 4 years. The pair of Urao feathers is not broad but has strong and elastic shafts and can reach a length of around 3 meters. The main tail is wide and long. The daiichi-honge (literally, primary main feathers; also known as "kougai") grows 70 to 90 cm (27 to 35 in.) a year. The lower section of the sho-utaibane and ofuku molt ever year but grow with speed all year long.

蓑羽 (minoge - saddle feathers) - Minoge feathers are countless, forming a semi-cylinder ("tsutsumino").

The feathers maintain length of roughly a third of the growing tail feathers and do not molt.

本尾 (shyubi - foundation tail) These are the retrices, or main flight feathers of the tail. They molt yearly.


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Last Update: Jan 30, 2009