The steppe is home to animals and birds of various kinds. Including for birds of large size – great bustard. It has a lot of varieties. About them and their habitat will be discussed in the article.
At bustard has another name – academic rank: associate. She has a very beautiful appearance and is one of the brightest individuals representing the fauna.
Bird bustard belongs:
- the squad of cranes;
- the family drofyne.
This bird is very large. Because of the beauty and the great weight she was considered a good trophy hunters. For a long time on her large-scale hunting, which almost led to the complete disappearance of birds. But now the snow leopard listed in the Red book of Russia and International security and natural Union, and hunting was prohibited.
Species and subspecies
Species of the bustard is so diversethat inhabit several continents, differing among themselves in size, color, feeding characteristics and habits.
One of the most common are species such as:
- Steppe or plain.
Each of these types, in turn divided into subspecies.
The major has four subspecies:
- Measles or giant.
To the sight of the small belong to five subspecies:
- Bustard Ruppel.
The African species includes four subspecies:
- South African.
- The Nubian.
Steppe bustards are divided into two subspecies:
- East Siberian.
Bustard steppe – appearance
- This is the biggest bird in the fauna of Russia. Has a massive build, with broad chest and thick neck, according to the structure of the body resembles a Turkey.
- A subspecies of this breed of birds are the owners of elegant, bright color feathers with a rich palette of shades.
- Scale long, broad and strong wings of the bustard ranges from 190 to 260 cm
- This bird has very powerful legs that do not have a tail and three fingers with which she successfully uses with fright, running up to about 30 m before becoming wing and fly away.
- The beak bustard short, has a grayish color, small eyes with iris black.
Bustard steppe – the differences
At bustard steppe, there are differences:
- Between subspecies of the European and East Siberian.
- Between females and males.
There are small differences:
- in plumage;
- the size of individuals.
The first subspecies has a lighter color and larger size.
Between females and males
- Males and females have no differences in color, only in the spring of the neck of the male envelops the collar bright chestnut or red color. And also it appear threadlike feathers that grow from the base of the beak. All this is maintained until the end of the summer, and then disappears.
- Males look very much differ from females by their size. Males weigh from 7 to 19 kg, females less than males twice. Body length of males reaches 105 cm, and a female – not more than 80 cm.
- This steppe beauty prefers sites with rich thick but low vegetation: feather grass steppes and meadows.
- Prefers to nest in the plains, rarely in mountainous terrain.
- Very well tolerated reduced temperature, but very sensitive to snow and lingering winter.
- Early bustard settled only in pristine steppes and semi-deserts, but now the area has improved markedly, mostly due to various human activities.
- Due to the loss of habitat, the cause of which is man, bustard had adapted to the new habitat – agricultural fields, arable land, pasture and hay land.
Plant food and drink
In the diet of this bird prefers variety in vegetable feed and in the feeds of animal origin. Often it depends on the place where dwells the bird, time of year, age and sex of the individual.
Adult steppe bustard very willingly prefer to eat seeds, shoots, leaves and various plants, for example,
- mustard black;
Bustard tries to settle close to bodies of water because of the weight you need to frequently replenish the water content in the body. In winter, when rivers and lakes freeze, these birds eat snow.
- In the diet, consisting of animal food consists mainly of various types of insects and their larvae, due to the large spread in the “menu enabled”: grasshoppers, crickets, caterpillars, grasshoppers, weevils, mole crickets and beetles of various kinds.
- Bustard is essentially omnivorous, whenever possible, catches and eats lizards, frogs, earthworms. Do not hesitate to take small rodents. And it eats eggs of other birds that nest on the ground.
- Great bustard Chicks can’t boast such a variety of diet as the adults. The adult birds feed juveniles by ants of the species – Formica and their larvae. But this power allows them to extract a sufficient amount of nutrients, proteins, and protein for proper development.
- Males reach sexual maturity at the age of about five years, females earlier in the year and a half. Every year the great bustard returned to the same nesting site. This happens in mid-March or early April.
- Marriage ceremonies are held on the tokovisch, where in early morning the males are starting to show their beauty before the females, accompanying all this blind screams. Then the male chooses the female and copulation occurs.
- Birds waiting, when the earth’s surface is dry to after the mating season was soon to begin construction of the nests.
The arrangement of the socket
- Males do not participate in incubation and rearing Chicks, it’s all female. After mating, the males gather in groups of large size and go to places further shedding.
- Creation and arrangement of the nest is entirely on the female. With strong paws, she digs a depression in the soil, laying on the bottom of the dry leaves of grass. After around nests of grass, which is a good disguise for the future Chicks.
- For one season one is laying in which two eggs and rarely one. Eggs in form similar to crane’s, but slightly rounder, large size, from 7 to 9 cm in length.
- The color of the eggs can be very different, background color varies from pale brown to olive. Eggs have spots and specks of dark shades.
- Within three to four weeks, the female incubates the eggs, after this period the Chicks hatch feathered.
- A month later, the Chicks weigh two to three pounds and be confident on the wing. Despite this, the juveniles stay with the mother until the winter, in exceptional cases until spring.
- It would seem that to discover in a thicket of grass bustard, which is in the nest, it is almost impossible because of its masking color. But in fact it is not. Often killed themselves as birds and Chicks, and eggs, at a time when the female leaves the nest in search of food.
- These birds are natural enemies, the most dangerous for them is the eagles and eagles that lightning attack from the air, leaving the bustard is no chance for salvation.
- As bustard prefers open space for their habitat, it becomes convenient and easy target for ground-based predators. A great danger for it are wolves, foxes, badgers and lynx.
The extinction of the great bustard
The reasons for the extinction of adults, and of the species as a whole, associated with man and his activities:
- This mass hunting of bustard in the XIX and early XX centuries, especially in Eastern Europe. The scope of death of birds was enormous, as a result, in some countries, the bustard had been completely destroyed. Restore populations of birds in many countries is almost impossible.
- The increase of agricultural land and improvement of ways of their processing, construction of roads, irrigation systems and power lines leads to the destruction of clutches of eggs in nests is actually depriving bustard offspring.
- Today actively taken various measures not only to preserve the appearance, but also in order to try to increase the number of this beautiful bird in Russia and in European countries.