Bird Families

Cassowary - dinosaur bird - "horned head"

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External signs of a horned lark

The body size of the horned lark is slightly smaller than that of the skylark. The body length is 14-20 cm, the wingspan reaches 31-37 cm, and the weight is 27-48 g.

The legs are short, the tail is slightly notched, the feathers of the upper tail are very long. The color of the plumage varies depending on the geographic area. The upper side of the body is colored sandy, sometimes gray-brown with clear variegated spots. Feathers on the neck and on the front of the back of a noticeable wine-lilac shade. Underparts are light; tail feathers are black with a narrow white stripe along the outer pair.

The sides of the head in a number of subspecies are white, in others they are lemon-yellow; a black "mask" is noticeable. The forehead is light, with a wide black stripe separating it from the crown. It turns into thin sharp feather "horns" on the sides of the head. Hence the specific name - the horned lark appeared. Females have small “horns”, pale plumage. Adult birds have a short brownish beak with nostrils covered with feathers. The legs are black.


Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris).

Appearance

The horned owl's coloring is for camouflage. The underside (including the chest area) of an owl is usually lighter in color, with horizontal brown stripes. The upper wings, as well as the tops of the bird, are usually speckled brown and have heavy and dark complex markings. A white spot is often found on the neck, which can be like a strip to the middle of the chest.

The general color of the Great Horned Owl can vary from region to region. In particular, those individuals that live in the subarctic region have a light yellow and washed out color. Others, living on the Pacific coast of North America, much of South America and Central America, are known for their dark brownish color with blackish spots.

The plumage of the great owl is black. The legs are always covered with feathers. Feathers on the legs of this species are the second longest among all known species of owls.

The claws and beak of a large horned owl are dark gray in color. The face disc (which all owls have) may vary in color depending on the region. The color ranges from gray and brown to reddish. The disc of the face is bounded by a dark rim, which eventually ends in blackening and bold side braces.

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According to its physical characteristics, the Great Horned Owl has a barrel-shaped and heavy build. They have very wide wings and a large head. It is interesting to note that the size of the species can vary from region to region. For example, the smallest live in California and Texas, and the largest in Ontario and Alaska.

The average length of an adult Great Horned Owl is 55 centimeters, but it can range from 43 to 64 centimeters. The average wingspan of this species is 122 centimeters, but it can vary from 91 to 153 centimeters.

It is interesting to note that female horned owls are slightly larger than males. Females have an average body weight of 1608 grams. The average body weight for men is 1224 grams.

The beak of this species is hard and inflexible. The size of the beak ranges from 3.3 to 5.2 centimeters. Interestingly, the open beak measures 2.1 to 3.3 centimeters.

Spread of the horned lark

The habitat of the horned lark is quite extensive. It covers Asia, Europe, Central and North America, North-West Africa. In America, it is found from tundra to Mexico, isolated in Colombia. Bird flights to southern Spain are known.

In Russia, this species of larks inhabits the northern tundra regions almost throughout their entire length, Altai, the Caucasus, Eastern Siberia. In the northern regions of the range, horned larks are migratory birds, and in the southern regions they are sedentary.


The lark has a characteristic mask on its face, and on the back of its head there are elongated black feathers, similar to horns.

Habitat of the great horned owl

The Great Horned Owl is native to Central America and South America and is the heaviest known species of owl. However, in North America, it ranks second with the heaviest - the Snowy Owl.

The range of the horned owl is quite diverse. It can be found all the way from the northern part of the Subarctic to the rest of North America up to Central America. From South America to the highlands of Argentina, Peru and Bolivia. From where the Great Horned Owl's range ends in South America, the Magellanic Horned Owl's range begins and continues all the way to the tip of South America.

The horned owl is not picky about its habitat. She can take shelter anywhere - from treetops to open areas and even in parks where there are many people. Barns, churches, building peaks, abandoned buildings, arable land, pastures, wetlands, fields and even rainforests, etc. are part of their habitat. They can even be found in cities.

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It's worth noting that they don't really prefer being in the Amazon rainforest. They can inhabit trees bordering mixed, coniferous, deciduous, tropical forests, prairies, pampas, deserts, mountainous regions, rocky shores, subarctic tundra, mangrove swamps, and urban areas.

Rapid habitat decline and environmental changes often force them to be in areas close to humans.

Habitats of horned larks

In the mountains, horned larks inhabit the subalpine and alpine belts, choosing sparse meadows with gravelly soil and low grass. In the north, birds prefer to settle on sandy areas on the seashore among the high dry tundra. In winter, birds descend into the valleys, roaming the steppes, fields, roads, in places where there is no snow.

On migration and on winter migrations, horned larks keep on salt licks, they are found on pebbles in Western Siberia and Altai along river banks and on open rocky slopes with sparse vegetation. In winter, in a snowstorm, these birds endure bad weather on the streets of cities and towns.

In Ukraine, horned larks feed on currents, melons, abandoned fields, in places where dry grass is hidden under a thin layer of snow. In a thaw, horned larks gather on virgin soil, in bad weather - where the weeds are higher, not covered with snow. In the Kazakh Highlands, horned larks appear on the slopes of hills with placers of stones and rubble, covered with sparse vegetation.


Crested Larks are regular winter guests on the coast of Central Europe.

In Altai, birds adhere to dry, stony or gravelly steppe with rare grass, sometimes they even live on pastures that have been knocked out to the ground. In the Tien Shan he chooses meadow and steppe areas with stony soil and rare alpine vegetation.

In Altai, horned larks nest without adhering to a certain height, but in the Tien Shan birds build nests only at high altitudes, mainly from 3000 m and higher, although sometimes they also settle at an altitude of 1800-2000 meters.

Song lark

Javanese Lark (Mirafra javanica). Order of passerines, family of larks. Habitat - Australia, Asia, Africa. Length 13 cm Weight 20 g

These birds are widespread in Africa, Asia, Europe, 1 species lives in America and 2 species in Australia. Larks are so fond of people that they have acclimatized some species in places where they did not exist before.

All species of these birds prefer to stay in open spaces - they can be found in meadows, fields, forest clearings, in the steppes. Some of them inhabit alpine meadows located at an altitude of several thousand meters. Birds feed on insects and small invertebrates, looking for them on the ground. A small proportion of their diet consists of grass seeds, fruits and berries that have fallen from trees and bushes. Almost all members of the family are wonderful singers. They sing mainly in flight, but on cold days they can delight the ears of their girlfriends while sitting on the ground. Nests are arranged only on the ground, digging small holes in it and lining them with fluff. Clutch contains 4 to 6 eggs.

Crested lark

All larks belong to the order of passerines. The crested lark is similar to the field lark, but differs from it in a longer beak and pointed crest. The crested has a short tail. In flight, it can be distinguished by its tawny tail and tawny underside of the wings. With its melodious singing, it can imitate the voices of other birds. It is considered a sedentary nomadic species. At the beginning of the 20th century, the range of the species in Europe expanded - the crested lark mastered agricultural landscapes. In addition to Eurasia, the species is found in North Africa. In Europe, the northern border reaches the south of Sweden and the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland. In the European part of Russia, the range extends to the north to the Leningrad region, to the east it descends to the borders of Mongolia. The female manages to make two clutches per season, each with 2 to 5 eggs.

Lesser lark

The lesser lark is inferior in size to the field lark - it is no more than 17 cm long. The lesser lark differs from similar species of small size by its light chest, it lacks the streaks characteristic of many larks. Small dark spots are visible on the sides of the goiter. The crown is reddish-brown, with small dark streaks, or grayish. The base of the beak is yellowish, its apex is brownish. Females are slightly smaller than males, with paler coloration. The main breeding area of ​​the Lesser Lark is located in the south of Europe. The bird also nests in northern Africa. The northern border of the breeding area in Eurasia reaches the 54th parallel. Although he settles, including in unseeded fields and pastures. In Russia, the range stretches eastward to northeastern Mongolia and the northwestern part of northeastern China. Nest is rather deep, bowl-shaped, usually found in thickets, usually 2 or 3 eggs in clutch.

Steppe lark

The Steppe Lark is about the size of a starling, its wingspan varies from 38 to 44 cm. On the sides of the goiter it is noticeable by a black spot, streaks diverge from them. The back is clay-colored, also with dark streaks. The belly is whitish. The tail is short. There are white stripes on its edges. Both sexes are colored the same, the male is larger than the females. In the Turkic languages, the bird is called jurbay. Steppe larks live in feather-grass and grass-wormwood steppes, they are found in fields, in dry meadows. The species is not migratory; from the north of the range in winter, birds only migrate to its southern regions. In Russia, steppe larks can be seen in the Caspian steppes; in the Ural valley, the northern border reaches the 51st parallel. The nest is built on the ground, there are usually 4 or 5 eggs in a clutch.

Horned lark

The name of the species is given for the elongated black feathers located at the back of the head. The horned lark is slightly smaller than the field lark. Coloring can vary considerably - the species range is very large. From Eurasia, until the last Ice Age, these larks penetrated into North America through the Bering Strait and then spread in the New World as far as South America. As a result of dispersal, about forty subspecies arose, the area turned out to be open - divided into tundra and steppe parts. Although horned larks fly away from the northern regions of their range for the winter, they are able to extract grain from under the snow, digging tunnels in it. In Russia, the species range stretches from the White Sea to the Chukchi Peninsula. In Europe, the horned lark can be seen in the winter on the coasts of Central Europe. In North America, the range stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast. Places for nesting largely depend on the specific geographic habitat.

Lark

A skylark is slightly larger than a sparrow. There is a small crest on the head. A light eyebrow is visible above the eye. The color is discreet - patronizing. The back is gray or brownish-yellow in color, with streaks. The chest is brown, the belly is white. Males and females do not differ in color, cavaliers are only slightly larger. Larks are migratory, returning from wintering very early. The basis of the diet is various seeds. In early spring, they lay on seedlings and insects. To help the grains digest better, birds peck up small pebbles that remain in the stomach. Dew drops are enough for birds to drink. Larks have many enemies. These are ferrets, weasels, ermines, foxes. In the air, singing larks are attacked by birds of prey, harriers and falcons. These birds sing very melodiously. In Russia, the species range stretches from the western borders of the country to the lower reaches of the Kolyma, to the Pacific coast and Kamchatka. Skylarks are found not only in Europe and much of Asia, but also in North Africa - from eastern Morocco to the east to the eastern coast of Tunisia. They hibernate in southern Europe and in the same Africa. These birds were brought to Australia, New Zealand and North America, where they are well acclimatized. The nest is built in a hole and is lined with hairs, hairs and down, in a clutch of 4 to 6 eggs.

Magpie lark

(Grallina cyanoleuca). Detachment Sparrow, family Lark magpie. Habitat - Australia, Tasmania. Length 30 cm Weight 90 g

Larks are often confused with the Australian magpie: they are very similar in body structure and plumage color. Of course, these little songbirds have nothing to do with the Raven family. The lark can be easily distinguished from the Australian magpie by its significantly smaller size. Larks live in almost all landscape conditions, with the exception of tropical forests and pronounced deserts. Often, these birds settle near human habitation, including in city parks and squares. They lead predominantly a terrestrial lifestyle, slowly exploring the soil in search of all kinds of insects and invertebrates. During the nesting period, spherical nests of mud and clay are built on trees (sometimes at a height of 15-20 m). Under favorable weather conditions, two broods can be raised on the wing per year.

Features of the behavior of a lark

In their natural habitat, horned larks keep in pairs, outside the nesting period they form flocks, sometimes quite numerous. Birds run quickly on the ground and stand low on their feet compared to other species of larks. They fly reluctantly, but birds fly strong.


The crested lark prefers treeless landscapes in the southern regions over the forest boundary and in the northern lichen tundra.

Voice - long, high metallic, like "di-di-di-i", "heade-i-i", sounds in a high key. Larks sing most often while sitting on the ground, sometimes while running or in flight. The birds' song sounds abruptly, but sonorous. Horned larks love to take dust baths.

Horned lark nesting

Horned larks announce their arrival with a spring song. Then they are placed in the nesting areas. During courtship of the female, males alternate singing with take-offs.The horned lark's nest is quite neat and coiled from thin stalks. The tray is lined with soft plant fluff or animal hair. Leaving the clutch, the birds cover the eggs with a bunch of grass. Horned larks carefully hide the nest under a bush, sometimes under a hummock or place it quite openly.


Horned lark chick.

There are usually 4 eggs in a clutch, rarely five. The shell of the eggs is pale greenish or brownish-white, covered with brown streaks on the surface and pale grayish in depth. At the blunt end of the egg, there is a corolla of a cluster of spots or rare specks and dots. The dimensions of the eggs are 2.1-2.5 × 1.6-1.7 cm.

The male helps the female to incubate the eggs. Chicks hatch on 9-11 days, they leave the nest at the age of 9-10 days, but they can fly away at one week of age. Birds may have 2 broods per year. In case of destruction of the nest, repeated clutches are possible.

Nutrition of the horned lark

Horned larks feed mainly on insects: flies, mosquitoes, beetles, but crustaceans and small molluscs are also present in their diet. With the onset of autumn, insects disappear, so birds switch to plant foods. About 90% are seeds of cereals and other plants. Wintering horned larks eat knotweed, quinoa, sedge, wheat and millet seeds in the fields.


Horned larks feed, like many birds, insects and seeds.

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