Bird Families

10 unusual mating rituals for birds

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Pternistis is a genus of birds galliform, formerly classified in the group of turach of the partridge subfamily of the pheasant family. They are described as “partridge turachi” in the literature, basing their phylogenetic distribution outside the monophyletic population of true turachi. Its 23 species range across Sub-Saharan Africa. They are commonly known as turachi or spurfowl, but are closely related to the jungle bush quail, European stone partridges Alectoris and quail Coturnix... The species are strictly monogamous, remaining fused indefinitely. They provide most of their food by digging. Ptarmigans exist almost entirely on the roots, beans of pods and trees, tubers, seeds, feasting on the situation on termites, ants, locusts, flowers and fruits. Important predators are jackals, caracals, servals and birds of prey, as well as marabou storks and herons.

  • Scaly turach, Pternistis squamatus
  • Turach Ahanta, Pternistis ahantensis
  • Gray-striped turach, Pternistis griseostriatus
  • Hildebrandt's Turach, Pternistis hildebrandti
  • Double spur puffer Pternistis bicalcaratus
  • Turach Heuglina, Pternistis icterorhynchus
  • Clapperton's Turach, Pternistis clappertoni
  • Harwood Turach, Pternistis harwoodi
  • Turach Svirstra, Pternistis swierstrai
  • Turach Mountain Cameroon, Pternistis camerunensis
  • Beautiful turach, Pternistis nobilis
  • Jackson's hooker, Pternistis jacksoni
  • Kashtanov dozing turach, Pternistis castaneicollis
  • Turach Djibouti, Pternistis ochropectus
  • Turach Erkel, Pternistis erckelii
  • spurfowl Hartlob, Pternistis hartlaubi
  • spurfowl with a red beak, Pternistis adspersus
  • Cape spurfowl, Pternistis capensis
  • Natal Spurfowl, Pternistis natalensis
  • spurfowl with a yellow neck, Pternistis leucoscepus
  • spurfowl with gray breasts, Pternistis rufopictus
  • Red-throated spurfowl, Pternistis afer
  • Swainson's spurfowl, Pternistis swainsonii

Spread

Turachi live in tropical regions of Africa and Asia. The northern border of their distribution runs across the Caucasus. Numerous species of turachi are very flexible in adapting to human settlements and cultural landscapes, so their habitats are very different depending on the region: dense forest or open meadow, bush or bush, even rocky karst areas offer turachi food and protection. Of the 41 species of turachi, 36 live exclusively in Africa, 12 of them live in southern Africa, of which 7 in Namibia, including mountain turach, red-billed turach and partridge turach. The Cape Turach, native to the Cape Provinces of South Africa, is also occasionally found in southern Namibia. Fossil turuc Francolinus capeki

, which was found in Hungary, dates from the late Pliocene (about 1.8 million years ago).

Description and features

The appearance of the klintukh is very similar to the appearance of the dove, which everyone knows for its constant presence in city parks, squares, city streets. Typical representatives of the species are not large in size, slightly inferior in size to a rock dove - body length up to 36 cm, weight about 300 g, wingspan about 70 cm.

In contrast to its congener, the clintuch has a slightly larger head and a shortened tail. In a series of similar outwardly pigeons, cisar, Eurasian wood pigeon and klintukh are often compared with each other. All three species are characterized by a gray-blue plumage, a bronze tint on the neck.

Klintukha is distinguished by color monotony, which is slightly diluted by barely noticeable stripes on the wings. The flight feathers and the edge of the tail are darker. If you look at the bird from below, then the reverse side of the wing is seen as lead in shade, the belly is almost the same in color. There are no light spots, like a dove, in a dove. There are no seasonal changes in color.

The beak is reddish, yellowish at the end. The eyes are dark, almost black. In adult birds, the legs are red, in juveniles, the legs are pinkish-gray. Distinguishing between male and female is difficult. Females are distinguished by a darker beak and plumage, which is half a tone lighter than that of males.

Young animals can be identified by their brownish color. They don't have a metallic sheen on their necks yet. The molt of birds is poorly understood. But the general scheme is close to pigeons of other species - a complete change of dress takes place once a year. The flight of forest pigeons is energetic.On takeoff, a sharp whistling of the wings is heard, similar to that of brown pigeons.

The forest bird is extremely cautious, hiding in the crowns of trees in any danger. You can meet klintukh in the forests of Europe, Asia, in the northwestern part of Africa. Avoids high altitude areas. In Russia, clintuch is distributed throughout the forest, forest-steppe zone. On the territories of the Urals and Western Siberia, there is no longer any clintuch.

Depending on the habitat, the bird leads a sedentary or migratory lifestyle. The number of migratory birds increases towards the northern areas of the range. He spends winter quarters in the south of Europe, the Middle East. On flights for recreation, he chooses places inaccessible to most predators, showing natural caution.

Klintukh behaves quietly, inconspicuously, secretly. You can hear his prolonged cooing with a characteristic repetition of muffled sounds. Quiet klintukh's voice is distributed from the depths of the crown, the bird itself often cannot be seen.

The number of forest pigeons is decreasing. In addition to negative factors of the natural environment, the reasons lie in human activities, with which birds avoid contact, unlike urban relatives.

The urbanization of the territories adjacent to the settlements, the development of fields, and restrictions on the sowing of grain crops impede the traditional nesting of birds. Reconstruction work on cutting down old hollow trees, in particular lime trees, leads to a reduction in the clintuch population.

Lifestyle

Turachi live primarily on land and feed on insects, plants, and seeds. In case of danger, which males report with their loud and harsh voice, the turchi flee to shelter. Some species of turachi fly up trees with dense foliage during sleep. Many turachi are pronounced territorial birds, waging a fierce struggle to protect their site, especially during the current. They live monogamously. Only the female incubates the clutch for 23 days, while the male watches nearby. The nest is a small depression on the ground, covered with tall grass or hanging tree branches, lined with grass and twigs inside. In a clutch there are 6 to 12 eggs, depending on the species. Chicks are brood birds. They leave the nest within a few days after hatching and live under the supervision of their parents for 6 to 12 months in a family union.

Appearance

For all its courage and masculinity, the bird cannot boast of its size: it is no larger than a dove. The male turukhtan reaches a length of 30 cm, the female is even less - only 24. Weight, respectively, up to 230 grams and 150. In winter, the female and the male are similar to each other, both have a brown plumage with a gray tint. The abdomen is lighter in color than the feathers on the rest of the body. The wings are wide and long with a narrow white stripe. A small head with a beak shorter than that of other relatives from the order of Charadriiformes is planted on a long neck.

With the onset of the mating season in the life of birds, feathers grow on the head of males, similar to ears. A magnificent decoration is formed on the neck - a feather collar. There are no two males with the same collars, all differ in color or pattern. The turukhtan can raise and lower these decorating feathers, if desired, to enhance its charm on the female or to intimidate an opponent. By winter, this outfit changes to a modest regular plumage. During mating games, in addition to the bright outfit of the male, the legs of the birds are painted in different colors. They can be orange, greenish, red-brown, etc.

  • Subgenus Francolinus
    (5 types) Turach (
    Francolinus francolinus
    ), or francolin
  • Swamp turach (Francolinus gularis
    )
  • Painted turach (Francolinus pictus
    ), or Indian francolin
  • Pearl turach (Francolinus pintadeanus
    )
  • Gray turach (Francolinus pondicerianus
    )
  • Subgenus Peliperdix
    (5 types)
      White-chinned turach (Francolinus albogularis
      )
  • Turach koki (Francolinus coqui
    )
  • Forest turach (Francolinus lathami
    )
  • Shlegeliev turach (Francolinus schlegelii
    )
  • Crested turach (Francolinus sephaena
    )
  • Subgenus Scleroptila
    (7 types)
      Gray-winged turach (Francolinus africanus
      )
  • Angolan turach Finsha (Francolinus finschi
    )
  • Red-winged turach (Francolinus levaillantii
    )
  • Partridge turach (Francolinus levaillantoides
    )
  • Francolinus psilolaemus
  • Turach Shelley (Francolinus shelleyi
    )
  • Collar warbler (Francolinus streptophorus
    )
  • Subgenus Pternistis
    (24 types)
      Red-billed turch (Francolinus adspersus
      )
  • Red-throated turach (Francolinus afer
    )
  • Gambian turach (Francolinus ahantensis
    )
  • Double-spur turach (Francolinus bicalcaratus
    )
  • Cameroon turach (Francolinus camerunensis
    )
  • Cape turach (Francolinus capensis
    )
  • Chestnut-occipital warbler (Francolinus castaneicollis
    )
  • Savannah turach (Francolinus clappertoni
    )
  • Sudanese turach (Francolinus erckelii
    )
  • Gray-striped turach (Francolinus griseostriatus
    )
  • Mountain turach (Francolinus hartlaubi
    )
  • Ethiopian turach (Francolinus harwoodi
    )
  • East African turach (Francolinus hildebrandti
    )
  • Yellow-billed turch (Francolinus icteorhynchus
    )
  • Kenyan turach (Francolinus jacksoni
    )
  • Yellow-throated turach (Francolinus leucoscepus
    )
  • Ituri turach (Francolinus nahani
    )
  • Natal turach (Francolinus natalensis
    )
  • Ugandan turach (Francolinus nobilis
    )
  • Red-bellied turach (Francolinus ochropectus
    )
  • Gray-bellied turch (Francolinus rufopictus
    )
  • Scaly turach (Francolinus squamatus
    )
  • Svensonov turach (Francolinus swainsonii
    )
  • Angolan turach (Francolinus swierstrai
    )

    An excerpt characterizing Turachi (a genus of birds)

    Prince Andrey bowed his head as a sign that he understood from the first words not only what was said, but also what Kutuzov would like to tell him. He collected the papers, and, giving a general bow, quietly walking on the carpet, went out into the waiting room. Despite the fact that not much time has passed since Prince Andrey left Russia, he has changed a lot during this time. In the expression of his face, in his movements, in his gait, there was almost no noticeable pretense, fatigue and laziness, he had the appearance of a person who did not have time to think about the impression he made on others, and was busy with a pleasant and interesting business. His face expressed more contentment with himself and those around him, his smile and eyes were more cheerful and attractive. Kutuzov, whom he caught up with back in Poland, received him very kindly, promised him not to forget him, distinguished him from other adjutants, took him with him to Vienna and gave more serious assignments. From Vienna, Kutuzov wrote to his old comrade, the father of Prince Andrei: “Your son,” he wrote, “gives hope to be an officer who excels in his occupations, firmness and diligence. I consider myself lucky to have such a subordinate at hand. " At Kutuzov's headquarters, between his comrades and colleagues and in the army in general, Prince Andrei, as well as in Petersburg society, had two completely opposite reputations. Some, a smaller part, recognized Prince Andrew as something special from themselves and from all other people, expected great success from him, listened to him, admired him and imitated him, and with these people Prince Andrew was simple and pleasant. Others, the majority, did not like Prince Andrew, considered him a pouty, cold and unpleasant person. But with these people, Prince Andrew knew how to position himself in such a way that he was respected and even feared. Leaving Kutuzov's office in the waiting room, Prince Andrey with the papers went up to his comrade, the adjutant on duty Kozlovsky, who was sitting by the window with a book. - Well, what, prince? Kozlovsky asked. - Ordered to draw up a note why we are not going forward. - And why? Prince Andrew shrugged his shoulders. - No word from Mac? Kozlovsky asked. - Not. - If it were true that he was defeated, then the news would come. `` Probably, '' said Prince Andrey and went to the exit door, but at the same time towards him, slamming the door, he quickly entered the reception room, a tall, apparently newcomer, Austrian general in a frock coat, with a head tied with a black scarf and with the Order of Maria Theresa around his neck ... Prince Andrew stopped. - General in chief Kutuzov? - the visiting general quickly said with a sharp German reprimand, looking back at both sides and without stopping walking to the door of the office. “The general in chief is busy,” said Kozlovsky, hurrying up to the unknown general and blocking his way from the door. - How would you like to report? The unknown general looked down contemptuously from top to bottom at the short Kozlovsky, as if surprised that they might not know him. “General in chief is busy,” Kozlovsky repeated calmly. The general's face frowned, his lips twitched and trembled.He took out a notebook, quickly drew something with a pencil, tore out a piece of paper, gave it away, walked quickly to the window, threw his body on a chair and looked around at the people in the room, as if asking: why are they looking at him? Then the general raised his head, stretched out his neck, as if intending to say something, but immediately, as if casually beginning to hum to himself, made a strange sound, which immediately stopped. The office door opened, and Kutuzov appeared on the threshold. The general with his head tied, as if fleeing from danger, bending down, with large, quick steps of thin legs approached Kutuzov. - Vous voyez le malheureux Mack, [You see poor Mack.] - he said in a broken voice. The face of Kutuzov, who was standing at the door of the office, remained completely motionless for several moments. Then, like a wave, a wrinkle ran across his face, his forehead smoothed out, he bowed his head respectfully, closed his eyes, silently let Mack pass him and shut the door behind him. The rumor, already widespread before, about the defeat of the Austrians and about the surrender of the entire army at Ulm, turned out to be true. Half an hour later, adjutants were dispatched in different directions with orders proving that soon the Russian troops, still inactive, would have to meet the enemy. Prince Andrew was one of those rare officers in the headquarters who considered his main interest in the general course of military affairs. Seeing Mack and hearing the details of his death, he realized that half of the campaign had been lost, understood all the difficulty of the position of the Russian troops and vividly imagined what awaited the army and the role that he would have to play in it.

    Litlife

    FOREWORD BY THE PREPARERS TO THE BIRDS

    Birds are perhaps the most common animals encountered by modern humans. It is not surprising when you consider that according to the English ornithologist James Fisher, more than 100 billion birds live on our planet, i.e. about 25 times more than people. The peculiar appearance, the peculiarities of raising the offspring, the color of the plumage and, most importantly, the ability to fly, have attracted the attention of researchers since ancient times. The bird's egg and its embryo were described by Aristotle (384-322 BC), Roman patricians possessed rich collections of live exotic birds, Frederick II of Germany (1194-1250) wrote a treatise on falconry, and even now birdwatching is hobby of many millions of people.

    Such a wide distribution of birds can be explained by their high ecological plasticity, which allowed them to master almost all existing habitats - from the circumpolar seas to the equatorial desert. In part, the number of birds is supported by their high, in comparison with reptiles, breeding efficiency, the ability to incubate and feed chicks, which ensures a high survival rate of the offspring. In general, the behavior of birds is quite complex, in comparison with the behavior of lower vertebrates, and is comparable only with the behavior of mammals. Birds are characterized by high mobility of nervous processes, the ease of formation of conditioned reflexes and the rudiments of rational activity. Highly developed senses also help them to perceive their environment more fully. Bird behaviorists have more than a hundred elements of acoustic and optical signals that birds use to communicate with each other. Due to this, such complex forms of behavior as school flights, joint nesting colonies, feeding chicks by "married" couples, etc. are possible. Due to their wide distribution, birds entered human life, becoming for him an element of the environment, an object of hunting, domestic animals and even an object of aesthetic pleasure. It is not surprising that the zoologist and educator Brehm paid special attention to birds.

    The difficulties faced by the Brehm commentator have already been mentioned by us in the general introduction.All this also applies to the "Birds". This should include the inevitable confusion in systematics, which since the time of Brehm and up to this time has been refined and revised more than once, and Brehm's pragmatism, which comes from the mechanism inherent in science of the 19th century, and anthropomorphism, when purely human character traits are attributed to one or another species. Nevertheless, in the comments to this volume, some specific features and particulars should be taken into account.

    Some paleontological data concerning the evolutionary past of birds were already known at the time of Brehm (in particular, the fossil remains of Archeopteryx were already described), but paleontology as a science developed only in the 20th century. In this regard, many versions of the emergence of this systematic group have been revised. In particular, the origin of this group is probably much older than zoologists believed in the time of Brehm - which is supported by some paleontological finds. Archeopteryx, which is cited in all evolutionary textbooks as an example of a transitional form between different taxonomic groups, should, according to the latest data, be considered a dead-end branch of evolution rather than a "real" avian ancestor.

    In general, both in the origin and in the features of the biology of birds, there are still many unclear points - some scientists even consider birds to be "feathered dinosaurs" that have retained most of the structural features of their mysterious ancestors. It should also be remembered that the famous pterodactyls and other flying lizards have nothing to do with today's birds. Birds evolved from the running reptiles of Archaeosaurs and retained some of their features - such "living fossils", according to some scientists, are, in particular, ostriches, which, as was previously thought, had not lost their ability to fly, but never possessed them. The history of fossil species, such as fish-eating diving “first birds” ichthyornis and hesperornis, predatory running forms - diatrima and fororakos, giant moa ostriches, which have survived almost to the present day, also remained outside the "Life of Animals". Moreover, paleontology provides us with more and more new finds - during the construction of the airport in the city of Charleston (USA), the remains of a huge seabird related to pelicans and cormorants were found in sandstone layers 30 million years old. Its weight was 40 kilograms, and its wingspan was more than 5.5 meters. Even larger was the Argentavis fossil bird of prey that once lived in South America - its wingspan was 6-8 meters, its height was 1.6 meters, and its weight was up to 80 kilograms! It is assumed that she flew according to the principle of a modern hang-glider, using ascending air currents, and noticing the victim, she fell on her with the whole mass, stunning her and beating her to death with her wings and powerful paws - after all, her beak was rather weak.

    All these data are interesting in themselves, but they also help to better understand the current hierarchy and taxonomy in the bird world.

    The taxonomy has its own difficulties - since the time of Brehm, it has been revised more than once, and some bird species have been moved from family to family several times, as a result, when comparing the taxonomy used by Brehm and modern taxonomy, there is a certain confusion. Moreover, Brehm himself complained about the puzzling taxonomy in the kingdom of birds and about scientists who are in no way able to finally "define themselves"! So the modern Russian and Latin names given here are sometimes just one of several possible, the taxonomy of birds is still being revised and is present in several equal versions. For comments, we used the taxonomy given in the modern Russian "Life of Animals" (volume "Birds", compiled by our largest experts) and in "Fauna of the World", volume Birds (1991).

    In the 1902 edition we have taken for commentary, not only the taxonomy of the old model is presented, but also the strict rules for naming taxonomic groups adopted in modern scientific literature are not strictly observed. Therefore, in the volume "Birds" of Brem, we find endings in Latin names that do not correspond to the rank of the group. Another specificity of taxonomy in the volume "Birds" of Brehm is the opposite, in comparison with the currently accepted order of listing taxa. Brehm goes from the youngest Evolutionarily (higher) to more primitive (ancient), whereas now it is customary to give a taxonomy following the phylogeny of taxa.

    It should also be borne in mind that many of Brehm's data on bird behavior are simply wrong - and not through Brehm's fault, of course. Birds are animals with a pronounced territorial instinct; in cages with a limited territory they behave very differently than in nature, show a noticeably more pronounced aggressiveness towards an enemy or rival (often ending in failure, since the enemy is not able to escape). Moreover, the artificial combination of birds in one enclosure that never meet "face to face" in natural conditions can also lead to distorted behavior, which often results in tragedy. It should be remembered, however, that ethology as a science developed only in the middle of the twentieth century, and until then only amateur zoologists were engaged in the behavior of animals, which led to a subjective, often unfair approach.

    Observations of birds in nature, oddly enough, developed only from the middle of the 19th century. Prior to that, the main focus was on the stories of hunters and the handling of trophies. In the twentieth century, bird watching became widespread and became almost a professional hobby of millions of people, thanks to whom they managed to learn a lot about the behavior of birds in nature. Naturally, the development of optics contributed greatly to such observations. The advent of telescopic lenses, night vision devices, and video filming advanced the science of bird behavior far ahead. One of the newest methods of observing migrations and movement of birds is telemetry, aerial observation, and radar. Not only did it not lose its significance, but the ringing method, first used in 1740, continues to develop. There are now several international ring data centers. Currently, in the USA and Canada alone, more than two thousand people annually ring about 600 thousand birds. The number of birds annually ringed around the world is in the millions.

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