In two previous posts (Izushi and Kamakura), I wrote in passing about hawks. It has come to my attention that the more accurate term for the medium-sized, wide-winged bird I saw in these towns is a black kite. While it wasn’t incorrect to refer to the brown birds as hawks (since it can loosely mean any bird of prey, according to Wikipedia) the more accurate term of black kite (milvus migrans) is better in order to distinguish it from the far less common true hawks, as well as from other birds of prey native to Japan.
The black kite is a widespread species throughout the temperate and tropical parts of Eurasia and parts of Australasia. The subspecies native to Japan is a black-eared kite, milvus migrans lineatus. (source: Wikipedia, “Black Kite”)
The Japanese word for this bird is tobi.
I have a photograph of what I believe is a black-eared kite, taken near Lake Biwa (north-east of Kyoto) in the summer of 2004: