Egyptian Heron - Snow White Graceful Bird


Appearance and behavior. The heron is medium in size, noticeably smaller than a large white, but larger than yellow and Egyptian. Body length 55–65 cm, weight 350–550 grams, wingspan 88–95 cm. It has a very graceful constitution and a small head with a long and thin beak. The birds in the nuptial dress, in addition to the lush “cape” of openwork egrelki on the back, have a long “pendant” in the lower part of the neck and a crest of several (usually two) long, narrow feathers, which is never the case with the great white heron.

In autumn and winter, egretki, suspension and crest are not pronounced. The most reliable distinguishing feature can be considered when a small white egret demonstrates its legs: yellow fingers contrast sharply with a black bob. She likes to keep in small groups in shallow water, is quite agile and is not particularly careful. These herons often fly in packs, while rarely lining up in a wedge or line, usually flying in a heap, like starlings. Active mainly during the day.

Description. The plumage is completely white in birds of any age and in any season. The beak and legs are black, the fingers in the wedding dress are bright yellow, in the winter they are dull and dirty yellow, but they always differ in color from the pinnacle, even in young birds, in which they are rather greenish. The beak is black in all seasons (in young birds it is dark with a yellowish base of the mandible). Naked skin around the eyes and bridle bluish in autumn and winter and yellow (to orange) in the mating season. In young birds, these areas are grayish. Eyes at any age are yellow.

Vote most reminiscent of the croaking of almost a raven timbre. Screams quite often.

Distribution, status. The nesting area includes the southern regions of Europe, Africa, southern Asia and Australia. In European Russia it is found in the south, along the coasts of the Black, Azov and Caspian seas and in the lower reaches of the rivers flowing into them. In most places it inhabits, it is rather ordinary, in some it is the most conspicuous and numerous of herons. Migratory bird, the nearest winterings are in Transcaucasia.

Lifestyle. It nests in colonies, usually in trees, much less often in reed beds, along the shores of various bodies of water, often in conjunction with other near-water birds. On trees, nests built from thin long dry twigs are fixed on horizontal branches, sometimes very far from the trunk. The shape of the nest, like other types of herons, resembles an inverted cone with translucent walls.

The nest is constructed by both partners, with the male bringing material, and the female lays it in the nest and protects the building from other herons nesting in the neighborhood. In clutch there are 4–5 greenish-blue eggs. The female mainly incubates for 25 days. The fledgling chicks move to the branches of the tree, where they spend most of the day, when parents appear, the chicks rush to their nest, where they receive food.

At first, the flying young birds feed close to the colonies and return to them for the night. They feed on invertebrates, small fish and other suitable animals.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Appearance of Egyptian Heron

The bird has a thick, short beak, but not as elongated as most of herons. The head is small, the neck is short, and the legs are long and thick.

The head, chest and back are decorated with long scattered feathers that fall in autumn. The wingspan of an Egyptian heron is 23-25 ​​cm.

The plumage of young Egyptian herons is pure white, the beak is grayish-black in color with a yellow spot at the base. The legs are black. The marriage outfit of males and females is white, with the exception of the upper part of the head, back, and goiter, which are seemingly isolated from each other, are painted in a wine-ocher color, covered with scooped long feathery beds.

The beak of an Egyptian heron is lemon-yellow in color, with a lighter shade in the corner of its mouth. Females differ from males with shorter, distended feathers on the head, in the back and chest. The winter plumage of herons is also snow white, but there is a red spot on the head. Feet for the winter get a dark, brown color.

Egyptian Heron (Bubulcus ibis).

In areas of distribution during the nesting season, the Egyptian heron can be accurately distinguished from other herons due to the bright color of the beak, which is visible from afar. Unlike other members of the family, the Egyptian heron travels long distances through the swamps and meadows in search of food.

These birds are found in large flocks of 300 individuals, and very rarely alone.

In flight, the Egyptian heron is similar to a croak, its flight is light, smooth. Highly the bird does not fly. Very often they feed among buffalo herds, and like to rest on the backs of these large animals.

Egyptian herons are less fearful than their relatives. The nature of this bird is calm, it is silent, it prefers to live a woody lifestyle. On colonial nestings, the voices of adult herons are heard, - a dull sound, similar to curling.

Egyptian herons are the most land species of the whole family.

The voices of chicks are so diverse that it is impossible to characterize them unequivocally. As the young herons grow up, their sound is constantly changing.

Range of Egyptian herons

This small bird occupies vast territories of the Iberian Peninsula, Africa, Madagascar, Arabia, Syria, northern Iran, the lowlands of the Transcaucasus, India, China and Japan. Occurs in the valleys off the coast of large and medium-sized rivers, in swamps, rice fields and reservoirs. Egyptian herons winter in Africa.

Egyptian herons feed in groups and breed in colonies together with neighboring birds.

Birds nest in small groups in the woods and groves, in meadows and marshes, on the shores of lakes and rivers in open areas. During the breeding season, the Egyptian heron does not eschew the neighborhood with people, and can nest right in human settlements.

The number of Egyptian herons

Since the Egyptian heron prefers to nest in large colonies, which in places reach several hundred pairs, in certain territories their number is numerous. However, the narrow range of distribution suggests that in total the number of these birds is extremely limited.

Egyptian herons are friends with buffaloes and often spend time on their backs.

Reproduction Egyptian herons

Egyptian heron belongs to the colonial birds, which usually nest in trees. Without hesitation, she can lay the clutches next to other herons or cormorants. Such "mixed" colonies are found in many places of bird distribution.

Nests are built high, about 8-10 meters above the ground. Laying places are arranged near the nests of a small white and yellow heron, while other species in the colony nest just above. Both parents take part in the construction process, the male is the material getter, and the female is the designer.

The eyes of an Egyptian heron are arranged in such a way as to simultaneously focus on the subject in front of it, primarily on prey.

The nests built by the herons have the shape of an inverted cone from which the branches diverge in the radial direction. The material from which the site is being laid is thin, dry branches, which herons collect on the ground or are pulled from empty neighboring nests. The nest is quite loose, so bird eggs can be seen from it on the sides and bottom. Egyptian herons may occupy last year's buildings of their relatives, contributing to the appearance of the dwelling.

The primary size of the nest can be quite small, but to the extent of growing up chicks, it is trampled, expands, the walls become flat, and the tray - small.

The laying of the Egyptian heron consists on average of 2-3 elongated oval eggs. The shell has a pale blue color.

Both parents also work on incubating eggs for 3-3.5 weeks. While the chicks are growing up, the male is engaged in their upbringing, and the father brings food to the nest at this time. A little later, parents will be able to leave the babies themselves, so that the two of them bring more loot. Adult chicks still do not know how to fly, but they willingly leave their nests, clinging with their feet, jumping from branch to branch.

Chicks are born helpless, vociferous and aggressive. They are able to distinguish parents from other birds in 3 days.

Birds that can fly, together with adults, form flocks, which every day replenish new and new herons. At first, the colonies wander through the rice fields, through the marshland, at night, returning to the nesting sites.

Food Egyptian Herons

The main food of these birds are insects. Everyone is accustomed that herons love to feast on frogs, but it is Egyptian herons who prefer grasshoppers, locusts, dragonflies, gadflies, water beetles and their larvae, spiders and mollusks more often. To a lesser extent, they hunt frogs.

General characteristics and field signs

A large bird the size of a gray heron with a long thin neck, long beak and legs. Body length 85-102 cm, wingspan - 140-170 cm, weight up to 1.5-2 kg. The plumage is pure white, the beak in the nesting period is black with a yellow base, in winter attire - yellow. Yellowish shin, clown and fingers black-brown. In flight, like most other herons, folds the neck. Taciturn From the scared heron, you can hear the characteristic rolling crackling "crr-rr-ra." It occurs usually on the banks of water bodies, meadows, pastures, marshes.

It differs from the gray heron by the white color of the plumage, by more “graceful” contours, from the small white one - by the size (almost twice as large). At large distances in size it is easy to confuse with other white herons. From a small white one can be distinguished by a heavier flight with a lower frequency of wing flaps, a more slender body and a long neck, black fingers, in the non-breeding period also by the yellow color of the beak. From medium to longer beak and neck. From both of these species, as well as the yellow-bellied heron - due to the absence of manes from narrow feathers on the goiter during the mating period (feathers here are only slightly elongated). In the case of the great white heron, unlike the middle one, the corner of the mouth does not end under the eye, but goes much further. In flight, the legs protrude back further than those of smaller white herons. It differs well in voice: in small and medium white herons it is not a crackling sound, their urges are more like “croaking” of a snake. From rarely found albinos in the gray heron, the large white differs in a longer and thinner neck, a less massive head with a longer and thinner beak, and darker legs (Cramp, 1977, Beaman, Madge, 1998).

Vote. Flying or feeding birds rarely scream. The cry is like a rolling "crr-rr-ra" or "crraac". On the colony, you can hear loud croaking sounds: “rra”, “arrp”. "Greeting" on the nest sounds like "rrrooo-rrrooo" (Bauer, Glutz von Blotzheim, 1966). The cry of the chicks in the nest, begging for food, resembles a "tap dance" of the gray heron chicks: "ke ke-ke" or "che-che-che."

Coloring. Male and female in marriage dress. Plumage is pure white. Feathers on nape and goiter are slightly elongated. On the back, up to 30–50 rasduchennyh and highly elongated shoulder feathers (egretki) up to 50 cm long, they go by the tail and some hang from the sides of the body. Bill is black with yellow, less often - reddish-yellow base. The naked bridle and the ring around the eyes are green or yellow-green. The shin is yellow or pinkish-yellow, on the sides this color comes in and on the sides of the bobbin in the form of narrow stripes. At the height of the mating period, the yellow areas of the legs become reddish (in Far Eastern birds to bright red). Pin and fingers are usually blackish, but their color can vary from greenish-gray to black. The color of the legs as a whole can vary from predominantly black (western individuals) to predominantly yellow (far eastern individuals). The iris is yellow. The female has elongated feathers somewhat shorter than the male.

Male and female in winter outfit. They are distinguished by the absence of egretki and elongated feathers on the nape and goiter. Some humeral feathers have egretkoobraznye scattered tops. The beak is yellow.

Down Outfit. The down is pure white, somewhat elongated on the back of the head, forming a sort of tuft. The skin around the eyes, chin and throat are bare, greyish flesh-colored, the beak and legs are flesh-colored or horny, sometimes with a yellowish tinge.

Nest outfit. On coloring it is similar to an adult winter outfit.

Structure and dimensions

The sizes of birds (mm) without division into sex groups are as follows. In Ukraine: the length of the wing is from 403 to 440, the tail is 158-184, the beak is 121-131, the bobbin is 180-209 (Smogorzhevsky, 1979), in Kazakhstan: the length of the wing is 410-470, the tail is 175-200, the beak - 115-143, bobbin - 165-212 (Dolgushin, 1960). In general, in the former territory of the USSR (n = 14): the length of the wing is from 412 to 465, on average - 437.8 (Spangenberg, 1951).

In Ukraine (based on the collection materials of the Zoological Museum of the Kiev National University) (n = 9): wing length - 410-458, on average - 436.4 ± 5.2, tail - 149-181, on average - 166, 3 ± 4,3, beak - 121-131,4, on average - 125.6 ± 1.1, bobbins - 185-213, on average - 197 ± 3.7 mm (orig.).

Juveniles have somewhat shorter wings and a tail, the growth of flight and tail feathers occurs during the first 5-10 months of life (Furmanova, 1998).

The formula of the wing (not counting the rudimentary first flywheel) II-III-IV-I-V-VI. On the outer webs of II – IV and on the inner webs of I – III of primary makhovy there are clippings. The tail is slightly rounded. Steering - 12. Beak strong, pointed at the end. Its cutting edge is slightly jagged. The legs are relatively longer than those of the Egretta and Ardea species (Cramp, 1977). Weight 3 individuals subspecies C. a. albus - 960-1 680 g (Bauer, Glutz von Blotzheim, 1966). During the year, weight can vary significantly. Thus, in herons, mined in the south of the Zaporozhye region, in the summer the weight was 1,600–1,700 g, and in the fall and winter it was 2,000–2,100 g. Weight gain is primarily due to the accumulation of fat deposits (Furmanova, 1998).

The foot support of a large egret is 20.86 cm2, the weight load is 43.14 g / cm2 (Furmanova, 1998).

Subtype taxonomy

There are 3-4 subspecies (Martinez-Vilalta, Mods, 1992, Howard, Moore, 1998, Dickinson, 2003, Stepanyan, 2003), differing in size, feathering features, beak and legs. In East. Europe and North. Asia dwells alone:

1.Casmerodius albus albus

Ardea alba Linnaeus, 1758, Syst. Nat., Ed. 10, c. 144, Sweden.

The largest form. The length of the wing of males is 410-485, the sleeves are 170-215, the beak is 117-140 mm (Stepanyan, 2003). Occurs from South. Europe and Holland to Primorye and North. Japan, to the south comes to Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Mongolia, China and Japan.

For other regions also described S. o. melanorhynchos (Wagler, 1827) (2) - found in sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, C. a. egretta (J.F. Gmelin, 1789) (3) - a subspecies distributed in America from southern Canada to Patagonia (Spangenberg, 1951, Bauer, Glutz von Blotzheim, 1966, Howard, Moore, 1980). Forms that live in the tropical and East. Asia, in Australia and Oceania and traditionally included in the composition of this species are referred in this publication to the species Casmerodius modestus.

Systematic Notes

Traditionally, the great white heron was attributed to the genus Egretta (eg, Spangenberg, 1951, Cramp, 1977, Howard, Moore, 1980, del Hoyo et al., 1992, Stepanyan, 2003). Inside this genus, the great white egret was isolated at the level of the subgenus Casmerodius Gloger, 1842 (Stepanyan, 2003). However, it was shown that by a number of characters, in particular, the skeleton structure, DNA structure, behavior, the great white heron is closer to the genus Ardea than Egretta (Bauer, Glutz von Blotzheim, 1966, Sheldon, 1987, McCracken, Sheldon, 1998) therefore, many taxonomists raise the rank of the subgenus Casmerodius to an independent genus, (eg Grimett et al., 1998, Robson, 2000, Brazil, 2009) or even include this species in the genus Ardea (eg Dickinson, 2003). Considering a number of significant differences between the great white heron and the herons of the genus Ardea (white plumage characteristic of the herons of the genus Egretta, the seasonal change in color of the non-warped body parts, the presence of cleaved egretki, and the nature of vocalization, unlike the vocalizations of the herons of both genus) »Solution, and this species is allocated to the genus Casmerodius (with the change of the female gender of the species name alba to the male albus).

In a broad sense, the species C. albus also includes the Asian-Australian form modesta (modestus), however, sympatry of this form and nominative albus in the south of Primorye with the difference in terms and features of nesting, as well as the absence of visible hybridization, does not allow these forms to be conspecific. A number of researchers distinguish the Asian-Australian form into an independent species Casmerodius modestus


Nesting area. The Great White Egret is a cosmopolitan species widely distributed in tropical and temperate zones. It is found on all continents, except Antarctica and Australia, in tropical Asia, obviously, only winters, being replaced here by a nesting place by a close species - the southern white heron.

Figure 62. Great White Heron habitat:
a - nesting areas, b - wintering sites. Subspecies: 1 - C. a. albus, 2 - C. a. melanorhynchus, 3 - C. a. egretta.

In Eurasia, it is distributed from the south of Spain to Primorye and Japan. In Zap. and Center. Europe sporadically occurs in nesting north to Holland and Poland. In East. Europe, the northern border of its range extends to southern Belarus, the Bryansk, Tambov, and Samara regions, further to the east it passes approximately 56 ° N, then deviates further south to 54 ° N, passes along the eastern borders of Kazakhstan, through North Mongolia, Priamurye. To the south in Asia comes to Turkey and South. Iran In Africa, it is distributed from the border of the Sahara to South Africa and Madagascar. In America, it lives from the south of Argentina to the south of Canada, as well as on B. and M. Antilles (Cramp, 1977, Martinez-Vilalta, Motis, 1992, Stepanyan, 2003).

Ареал большой белой цапли на протяжении последних 150 лет претерпел значительные изменения. В прошлом эта птица была распространена достаточно широко. В середине XIX в. её ареал доходил на север до нынешней Львовской (Dzieduszycki, 1896, Страутман, 1963) и Тернопольской (Бокотей, Соколов, 2000) обл., районов Умани (Goebel, 1879), Харьковской губернии (Сомов, 1897), Сарпы, низовий Урала и Эмбы (Мензбир, 1895).

Из-за моды на украшения из перьев во второй половине XIX в. началось истребление многих видов белых цапель, достигшее пика на рубеже веков. В результате на значительной части своего ареала большая белая цапля была полностью истреблена. В Сев. Евразии немногочисленные поселения сохранились лишь в самых труднодоступных местах, в основном в плавнях низовий крупных рек. Так, в Молдавии считанные особи уцелели только в низовьях Днестра и Прута (Аверин и др., 1971). Почти полностью были истреблены белые цапли на юге Украины, в дельте Волги и в Казахстане.

После запрета добычи белых цапель в СССР в 1920-е гг. численность и ареал начали постепенно восстанавливаться, однако на протяжении нескольких десятилетий это происходило весьма медленно. Ещё Е. П. Spangenberg (1951) noted that in many parts of its former range in the USSR, the great white heron remains a rare bird. In the middle of the XX century. in Moldova, it nests only in the lower reaches of the Prut and the Dniester; in Ukraine, relatively large colonies existed in the lower reaches of the Danube, Dniester, and Dnieper; on the Milk estuary in the Zaporozhye region. To the north, there were only rare cases of nesting, mostly individual pairs (Smogorzhevsky, 1959). Further to the east, the border of the range passed through the lower reaches of the Don, the Sarpinsky lakes in the Volga region, the lower reaches of the Urals (Spangenberg, 1951). In Kazakhstan - from the Kamysh-Samara lakes through the Turgai and Kurgaldzhinsky depression to the Zaisan depression (Dolgushin, 1960, Kovshar, Berezovikov, 2001). In Siberia, a great white egret nested in the South. Transbaikalia, in Primorye. But it was usual only in its southern part (Spangenberg, 1951).

According to L. S. Stepanyan (1975), the northern boundary of the range of the great white heron passed to the Center. Europe approximately along the 48th parallel, in the European part of the USSR it nested to the 49th parallel, in the valleys of the Volga and the Urals, the Volga-Ural interfluve, the Irgiz and Turgai basins - up to the 50th, in the North. Kazakhstan - up to the 51st latitude, to the east - up to Zaisan, the valley of the Black Irtysh, sowing. Mongolia, the valley of Argun, the middle reaches of the Amur. In Primorye supposedly gnezdilas to the 46th parallel.

In the second half of the 20th century, both the growth of numbers and the dispersal of the great white heron were outlined. In the early 1970s. growth in numbers and resettlement to new territories in Hungary was noted (Schmidt, 1977). The number of nests here increased from 5-6 to 700 (Bauer, Berthold, 1997). In 1978, the first nesting case of this bird was recorded in the Netherlands (Munteanu, Ranner, 1997). In 1993, a pair of nests in Bavaria (Bezzel, 1994).

In Latvia, the pair allegedly nested in 1977 on the lake. Engure (Tauriny, 1983), however, in 1980-84. in the nesting period, only single birds were observed here (Priednieks et al., 1989). Nesting attempts were resumed after 20 years: in 1997 and 1999. The nesting of a mixed couple with a gray heron was noted (Baumanis, Kalniijs 1997, Lipsbergs, Roze 2001), in 2000 the normal couple had already nested (Lipsbergs et al., 2001). In 1997, a hybrid pair bred 4 chicks (Baumanis, 1997). At the same time, there is an increase in the number and dispersal of the species in the CIS countries. And there is a settlement within the area, and the promotion of its border to the north.

In the Crimea until the 1970s. the great white heron was a rare migratory, sporadically flying and wintering bird. The situation changed after the construction of the North-Crimean Canal in the 1960s. Already in 1967-1968. In the desalination of shallow waters near the Lebyazh Islands off the northwestern coast of Crimea, the white heron flying became regular, the number of birds in the post-nesting migrations increased from a few to dozens. In 1970, the first pair of Lebyazhny islands was bred. The number of nesting birds increased all the time, already in 1976 there were 424 pairs. Herons settled in other areas of the Crimea (Kostin, 1983). For irrigation of the fields, drainage waters were diverted to Sivash, which caused a radical transformation of biotopes. Freshwater marshes with a fluvial complex of plants were formed in place of saline and hypersaline reservoirs with extremely poor vegetation. The first colony of a great white heron on Vost. Sivash was discovered in 1978, in 1983 there were already 7 colonies in which 153 pairs nested (Grinchenko, 2004).

In Moldova, since 1981, the species began to nest regularly on the ponds of the Kagul fish factory (Kunichenko and Gusan, 1992). Now the heron also nests in ponds in the southern and central parts of the country (Kunichenko, Gusan, 2001) and on the middle Dniester (Zubkov et al., 2001).

In the western regions of Ukraine, the great white egret nested in the 19th century. (Dzieduszycki, 1896, Strautman, 1963, Grabar, 1997, Bokotey, Sokolov, 2000). The last time she was found on nesting in 1925 in the Ternopil region. (Kharevich, 1926). In the future, more than half a century, only flying and flying individuals were encountered (Strautman, 1963, Skilsky et al., 2001). In 1985, 4-5 pairs nested in a colony of a gray heron and frog near one of the fish ponds in the Chernivtsi region. In the second half of the 1980s - early 1990s. two more colonies were discovered in the Chernivtsi region. (Skilsky et al., 2001, 2001). In 1994, a colony was found on a pond in the Lviv region. (Chornen'ka, 1998), in 1990, 3 pairs nested in a colony of a gray heron on the lake. Lyubyaz in the Volyn region, in 1994 there were already 11 couples here, in 1997 - 23-25 ​​couples (Gorban, Flade, 2000).

In the Dnieper, the first stage of the settlement of a great white heron to the north began after the creation of a cascade of reservoirs in the 1950-70s. The area of ​​its habitat has advanced to the upper reaches of the Kiev reservoir, where more than 100 pairs nested in the reed. In the 1980s Settlement began up the valleys of the left-bank tributaries of the Dnieper - Suly, Pela, Vorskla, Desna (Gavriss, 1994). Somewhat earlier, after the creation of Dneprodzerzhinsky vdhr. in the early 1960s., the birds climbed the valley. Orel to the southern regions of Kharkiv region. (Lisetsky et al., 1980, Tkachenko, 1987, Esilevskaya et al., 1988). In the floodplain of the gums in the mid-1980s. small settlements appeared in the colonies of gray herons in the north of Sumy and Chernihiv region. (Afanasyev, 1998). In the Sumy region. great white heron was mined in the XIX century. in Sumy, but since then she has not been met here until the late 1970s. Since the 1980s foci of nesting began to appear in the floodplains of Suly, Vorskla, Seim and other rivers (Knysh and Sypko 1994). Since 1984, annual migrations began to be noted between the Desna and Nerussa rivers in the south of the Bryansk region, and in 1994, two nests were found in the colony of a gray heron in the lower reaches of the Nerussa (Lozov, 1998). In the Middle Dnieper, in recent years, resettlement has continued, new colonies have appeared (Gavrilyuk et al., 2005).

In Belarus, individual nesting cases were recorded in the 1970-1980s. in the Brest and Gomel region. (Dolbik, 1985, Chyrvonay book, 1993), however, the reliability of these data was questioned (Samusenko, Zhuravlev, 2000). In 1994, a colony of 8 nests in the Gomel region was discovered. on p. Pripyat near the border with Ukraine (Nikiforov, 2001), in 1997 - two colonies in the Brest and Gomel region. (Samusenko, 1999). In subsequent years, several more colonies and proposed nesting sites were identified in the Pripyat basin (Abramchuk, 2003, Abramchuk, Abramchuk, 2005). Thus, the range boundary has advanced significantly further north.

In eastern Ukraine in the late XIX - first half of the XX century. the great white heron was spread quite sporadically. Single nests or small settlements were noted only in the Orel and Samara river basins, as well as on the Dnieper. Regular nesting has been observed since the 1970s, and the species is moving rapidly (Goodina, 2003a). In Donetsk Azov, a large white egret began to nest after a long break in the early 1980s. (Zavgorodniy et al., 1989). The first breeding was noted on the Cutting spit in 1981, when 2 pairs nested in the colony of a gray heron. In 1983, already 6 pairs were counted here (Lysenko, Siohin, 1991). In the 1980s Herons settle in the basin of the Seversky Donets in the Luhansk region. (Vetrov et al., 1991). Soon after, they appear in nesting in the chernozem regions of Russia.

In the Kursk region, after one of the last nests was ravaged near Kursk in 1926, the great white heron was encountered only as a vagabond in the floodplains of the Seim and Psel rivers. Only in the 1990s. it reappeared in nesting at fish breeding ponds (Mironov, 1996, 1998). In the Voronezh region. in 1975-78 two pairs were regularly recorded in the nesting period at the mouth of the river. Voronezh, in the 1980s repeatedly noted the aerial events in different parts of the region (Vorobyev, Lihatsky, 1987, Sokolov, 1999). In 1997, nesting of two pairs was registered in the vicinity of Bobrova (Sokolov, Prostakov, 1997), in the following years several more suggested nesting sites were identified in the floodplains of rivers and on artificial reservoirs (Sokolov, 2005). In 1997, 1-2 pairs nested in the Khopra floodplain at the lake. Ilmen in the north-east of the Voronezh region. (Vengerov et al., 2000). In 2002, about 10 pairs were noted on nesting on the pond of the state farm “Pobeda” in Muchkapsky District of the Tambov Region. (Goodina, 20036). Nesting is also possible in the Lipetsk region. (Klimov et al., 2004). In the Volga region in the middle of the XX century. the great white heron did not nest north of the Sarpinsky lakes (Spangenberg, 1951). However, in the 1970s and 1980s. the species spreads further north. In 1978, a pair of nesting on Lake Selitbenskoe was noted, and in 1982 - on the Sursky vdkhr. in the Penza region. (Denisov, Frolov, 1991, Frolov et al., 2001). Later, settlements appear in the upper zone of the Volgograd Vdkhr. and on small rivers of the Saratov region. (Shlyakhtin et al., 1994, Belyachenko et al., 2000, Morozov, 2000, Zavyalov et al., 2005). The pair nesting in the Suskan Bay of the Kuibyshev Reservoir is noted. in the Samara region. (Lebedeva, Panteleev, 2000).

In the Urals and Trans-Urals since the late 1970s. migratory birds are noted, and after a while white herons appear on nesting. In the Orenburg region. from 1979 from April to September, they regularly met migratory and flying birds. Probably, egrets already nested on some lakes in the east of the region (Samigullin, 1988). In the 1990s. nesting was already recorded in different parts of the region (Samigullin, 1990, Kovshar, Berezovikov, 2001). In Bashkortostan, a nest in a colony of gray herons was found in 1996 at the mouth of the r. Belaya (Karjakin, 1998a). Nests appear in the Chelyabinsk region. - in October (Zakharov and others, 2000) and Chesmensky (Morozov, Kornev, 2002) districts. The current number of the species in the region is estimated at 20 pairs (Gordienko, 2006). In the Turgai Depression in the north of Kazakhstan by V.F. Ryabova (1982) was met only by "stray" individuals, but already in 1981 a white heron was found on nesting in the Naurzumsky reserve. (Gordienko, 1987, Blinova, Blinov, 1997). In the Kurgan region. a great white heron appeared in nesting in the late 1990s. Currently, it is common on the border with the Tyumen region. and in the south of the forest-steppe, occurs sporadically in the rest of the territory, is absent in the north-western regions (Tarasov, Polyakov, 2006).

In Western Siberia, the nesting range has also moved northward. A great white heron appeared in nesting in the south of the Tyumen region. In 2001 and 2002 nesting and supposedly nesting birds were noted on the lakes in the Berdyuzhsky and Kazan districts (Morozov, Kornev, 20026, Gashev et al, 2003a, b). Perhaps nesting on the lake. Alabo-in Omsk region. (Morozov, Kornev, 20026). In the Novosibirsk region known nesting in the area of ​​the lake system of Chany: since the 1970s. from one to 12 individuals almost annually observed on the lake. M. Chany and in its vicinity, in 1998, two pairs successfully nested on the lake near the village of Shelchiha in Zdvinsky district. In the 1990s. birds were repeatedly observed in the south of Novosibirsk vdkhr. (Yurlov, 2000). Nesting is also possible in the west of the Altai Territory. Egrets are found along the reed beds of the r. Kulunda, but the nature of their stay here is not yet clear (Petrov, Toropov, 2000).

Further to the east in Siberia, only the aerials of these birds are known. In the upper reaches of the Ob, a large white egret is a rare vagabond species (Irisova et al., 1999). Zaletnh white herons were noted in the Tomsk region. (Shastovsky, Selevin, 1928, Gagina, Scalon, 2000), near Anzhero-Sudzhensk (Belyanin, 2000) and Tashtagola (Gagina, Scalon, 2000) in the Kemerovo region. In 1957, the white heron was mined in the upper Podkamennaya Tunguska (Syroechkovsky, 1959, Syroechkovsky, Rogacheva, 1995). Stray birds were observed on the lake. Bele in the Khakassky Reserve (Devyatkin et al., 2000).

In eastern Kazakhstan, the great white heron is a rare but regularly nesting species of the Zaisan depression and floodplain of the Black Irtysh (Berezovikov, 2004), nests also in the Alakol depression.

At Baikal and Transbaikalia, the great white egret is also currently only a vagabond. Stray birds were noted in the Selenga delta and on the lake. Tagley in Buryatia (Popov, Matveyev, 2005). According to O. A. Goroshko (personal communication), in favorable years it probably nests on the r. Argun In East. Mongolia nests on the lake. Buir-nuur, probably breeds also in the adjacent territories of China. Probably breeds in the Upper Amur region (Dugintsov, Pankin, 1993). Currently, the great white egret is found in the Amur region. on Amur and Zee, 3-5 pairs of nesting are possible (V. A. Dugintsov, pers. communic.). According to V. G. Babenko (2000), in the Lower Amur region a large white egret was recently only a rare flying species. Currently, it sporadically breeds in the Jewish Autonomous Region across the Amur. In 1997, the nest was found below the mouth of the river. Bira, in 1999 there were already 3 nests in the colony. In 1999, the pair was found in a gray heron colony below c. Amurzet (Antonov, 1999). In 2004, 3 nests were found in a colony of gray herons and great cormorants in the Leninsky district in the headwaters of the r. Vencelevskaya. A total of several dozens of individuals nest in the Jewish Autonomous Region, their numbers increase, the species settles to the north (AA Averin, pers. Communic.). In 1997, nesting in the Khabarovsk Territory in the Komsomolsky Reserve (Roslyakov, 2000) was noted.

On about. Sakhalin, according to PI Suprunenko (1890, cited from: Nechaev, 19916), a great white heron once nested in swamps and in the valleys of some rivers in the south of the island. Currently, only migratory birds are found (Nechaev, 1991).

In the Caucasus, the great white egret is common only in Azerbaijan. Breeds in Georgia (Birds in Europe, 2004). In Armenia, it occurs only during migration and wintering.

Thus, the modern northern boundary of the breeding range of the great white heron in Vost. Europe and North. Asia passes through the South. Belarus near the North. border with Ukraine. To the north there is a small isolated nesting site in Latvia. In Russia, the boundary of the range goes through the south of the Bryansk region. (lower reaches of the Nerussy River), north of the Voronezh Region, southeast of the Tambov Region, north-east of the Penza Region, Suskan Bay, Kuybyshevsky Vdkhr. in the Samara region. In the Urals - approximately 56 ° N: the mouth of the river. White in Bashkortostan, south of Chelyabinsk. In the Urals and Zap. Siberia - along the north of the Kurgan region, Berdyuzhsky and Kazan districts of the Tyumen region, then deviates to 54 ° N.N. - oz. Alabo-in Omsk region. and Lake District Chany in the Novosibirsk region. Further, the boundary of the area passes to the south-east through the lake. Zaisan and Black Irtysh, then along the border with Mongolia, along Argu-ni and Amur. In the Lower Amur region, the range reaches north to 51 ° N. It borders on the range of the southern white heron in Primorye by approximately 44 ° N, although its allopatric habitat is the last (Glushchenko et al., 2003). Inside the vast area delineated above, the great white heron is very sporadic, there are quite large areas where no nesting species is found.

Figure 63. The area of ​​distribution of the great white heron in Vost. Europe and North. Asia:
a - nesting area, b - wintering, in - isolated nesting.

Note that during the settlement, the species not only restored the former range, but also expanded it significantly. Many anthropogenic environmental changes turned out to be favorable for white herons — the creation of reservoirs and dams on rivers, fish-breeding ponds, the laying of canals and the flooding of arid lands, and the expansion of rice cultivation. For example, upstream of the rivers, settlement began after the creation of cascades of reservoirs — both on the Dnieper (Klestov, 1991, Gavris, 1994) and on the Volga (Rakhimov, Ulengov, 2003). In the Crimea, great white herons quickly spread along the route of the North-Crimean Canal during work there (Kostin, 1983). In the Stavropol Territory, the creation of a watering and irrigation system has significantly improved the habitat of many waterbirds, in particular white herons (Bicherev, 1988). In Uzbekistan, due to the formation of several artificial lakes, the great white heron appeared on nesting in the central and southern regions, where it had previously only met during flight and wintering (Shakhnazarov, 1995).

The growth of the number and resettlement of the great egret is observed not only in Eurasia, but also in the North. America (Martinez-Vilalta, Motis, 1992, Crozier, Gawlik, 2003).

The main wintering sites of the Eurasian populations of the great egret are in the North. Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East, South. Asia, China (Spangenberg, 1951, Bauer, Glutz von Blotzheim, 1966, Cramp, 1977). Birds from the United States winter in California, Mexico, Center. America, on the islands of the Caribbean (Martinez-Vilalta, Motis, 1992). Tropical populations are settled.

Birds, ringed on Lebyazhny Islands, in the winter months were found in Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia, Georgia, as well as in the Krasnodar Territory, Odessa region. and in the Crimea (Costin, Tarina, 2005). Heron, ringed in Vost. Azov, found for the winter in Greece, North. Iraq, Georgia, Israel, Egypt, the Central African Republic. Birds from the Rostov region. - in Dagestan, Krasnodar Territory, Iran. Herons from Dagestan and Azerbaijan wintered near nesting sites. Two Dagestan individuals were found 150 and 240 km south of the site of ringing, out of 6 herons of returns from the Kyzyl-Agachsky reserve, 5 are located in the valley of the r. Chickens in Azerbaijan, one bird found in the lower reaches of the Atrek in Turkmenistan (Sapetin, 1978a). Wintering birds have also been noted in several countries by the Center, and Zap. Europe - in Romania, Croatia, Austria, the Netherlands (Munteanu, Ranner, 1997), Slovenia (Vogrin, 1999), Poland (Piotrowska, 2003), Germany (Flore, Komer, Marzimeier, 1999).

In the southern parts of East. Europe and North. Asia's great white egret is a common, albeit small, wintering species.

In the south of Ukraine, it is fairly common in mild warm winters. So, in January 2001, 28 individuals were counted in the North. Priazovye (Koshelev et al., 2002), 318 - at Sivash (Andryushchenko et al., 2003), 6 - in the area of ​​the Askania-Nova reserve (Gavrilenko, Dumenko, Lopushansky, 2002), 4 - in the area of ​​the Black Sea reserve (Rudenko, Yaremchenko, Moskalenko, 2002), 194 - in the North-Zap. Black Sea Coast (Rusev et al., 2002). В Крыму на зимовку остаются одиночные птицы или небольшие группы (Костин, 1983). На юж. берегу Крыма большая белая цапля зимует на заросших участках ручьёв и речек, обычно наблюдают одиночных птиц или группы до 5 особей (Бескаравайный, Костин, 1999). При значительных похолоданиях цапли отлетают южнее. В Молдавии белые цапли зимуют на незамерзающих участках Днестра, Прута, Турунчука и других рек, на Кучурганском лимане, прудах рыбхозов (Куниченко, Гусан, 1992, Куниченко, Тищенков, 1999, Зубков и др., 2004, Тищенков, 2004).

На территории Украины зимовки отмечаются и значительно севернее: в Летичевском р-не Хмельницкой обл. в 2000-2003 гг. от 5 до 25 особей зимовали в долине р. Юж. Буг и её притоков (Новак, 2003), одиночных особей и небольшие группы птиц наблюдали зимой возле г. Тернополя (Страшнюк, 2004), в Черкасской обл. (Гаврилюк, Грищенко, 2001), в окрестностях Киева (Давиденко, Сыпко, 2002, Костюшин, Полуда, 2005), в Луганской обл. (Панченко, Сулик, 1978).

Одну птицу наблюдали в феврале 2002 г. на р. Муховец в черте г. Бреста (Абрамчук, Абрамчук, 2005).

In the North Caucasus, a large white heron winters regularly on the coastal lowlands near Adler, less frequently along river banks. Occasionally in winter, birds are noted on the West. Mana-che. Singles and small groups of herons, especially in warm winters, are regularly found in the basins of Kuma, Terek, Sulak, Samur, near forest springs in Kizilyurt district of Dagestan, in the waters of Chechnya and Ingushetia. In the Stavropol Territory, since 1977, almost every year, single birds and groups of up to 30–40 was observed at different points. Common white heron in winter in the North. Ossetia. Wintering is located on the Brutsky lakes, where 80-140 wasps are constantly kept. Solitary found in other waters, rising to the foothills. Occasionally in winter white herons were seen in Teberdinsky and Kavkazsky reserves (Kazakov et al., 2004). In January 2004, 155 large white herons were recorded on the Caspian coast in Dagestan and in coastal reservoirs (Dzhamirzoev, Ismailov, 2004). Noted and wintering cases in the delta. Ural (Berezovikov, Gistsov, 2001).

The great white heron is common during wintering in Azerbaijan, it is found on many water bodies of the country (Spangenberg, 1951, Smogorzhevsky, 1979, Sultanov, Dzhabbarova, 2006). In Armenia, wintering birds were observed in the valley of the r. Arak and the lake basin. Sevan According to M. Adamyan, a total of 250-1,000 of these birds winter in the Ararat Plain.

In Turkmenistan, egrets winter in small numbers on the r. Atrek and in the foothill zone near Ashgabat (Spangenberg, 1951). 1978-1986 the number of birds wintering in southeastern Turkmenistan ranged from 71 to 499 individuals (Moleva, Rustamov, 1986). Wintering white herons were noted in southern Kazakhstan (Dolgushin, 1960, Belyalov, Karpov, 2004), in Uzbekistan (Sagitov, 1987, Lukashevich, 1990), Kyrgyzstan (Shukurov, 1981, Kulagin, 2005), Tajikistan (Ivanov, 1940), basin r. Tarim in China (Sudilovskaya, 1968).

In winter, white herons were noted and much to the north of the nesting range. So, one of them wintered on the non-freezing site of the Shershnevsky vdkhr. near Chelyabinsk from December 19, 1985 until March 31, 1986 (Gordienko, 1987). In December 1996, one bird appeared on the non-freezing Vybutsk rapids on the r. Great above Pskov and remained there until the third decade of February. In March 1997, one individual stayed for two weeks within the boundaries of Pskov on non-freezing sections of the Mirozhki and Pskova rivers. Here, the bird, weakened during the winter, was torn by stray dogs (Fetisov, 1998).

Span area

For the great white heron is characterized by long-haul. Most often, migratory birds are observed during migrations and post-nesting migrations, but flying individuals may also occur in the nesting period. Known flights for Estonia (Leibak, Lillerht, Vero-mann, 1994). In Russia, stray white herons were noted in many regions located far north of the nesting range - from the Pskov region (Fetisov, 1998, Fetisov, Ivanov, 2003) and the Leningrad region. (Malchevsky, Pukinsky, 1983, Kovalev, 2001) to Kamchatka (Lobkov, 1997). To the north, birds can penetrate to the Arctic Circle. The most northern finds of vagrants are white herons - the lake. Lacha in Kargopol District of the Arkhangelsk Region (Andreev, 2004), p. Pechora in the Komi Republic (Neufeld, Teplov, 2000), near the town of Salekhard (Azarov, 1996), Beringovsky district of Chukotka.

In western Ukraine, white heron aerials have become noticeably more frequent since the late 1970s. (Gore-ban, Flade, 2000). In Latvia in the 1990s only isolated instances of flying were noted annually, in 2000, 13 birds were counted, and in the next three years, dozens of individuals were already recorded. In 2004, 342 birds registered here, most of them in the second half of summer (Celmis, 2004). An increase in the frequency of meeting of migratory birds is also observed in many regions of Russia (Lobkov, 1997, Priklonsky and others, 1998, Rakhimov, Ulengov, 2003).

In Zap. In Europe, from time to time in winter they register the aerials of large white herons with red legs and black beak. It is believed that this may be E. modesta. Since visual observations do not make it possible to unambiguously judge their species, such meetings belong to the “modesta-type” group. There were such birds in the East. Europe. So, O. A. Formanyuk (personal communication) on November 6, 2005 in the lower reaches of the Tiligulsky estuary in the Odessa region. in a group of large white herons, observed one individual with red legs and a black beak.

According to the ringing, the migration patterns are not the same for different populations. Great egrets from the Azov Sea migrate both to the southwest through the Balkans and Sicily, and to the southeast through the West. Transcaucasia and Asia Minor. Herons from Manych partially fly away through Ciscaucasia to the region of the Caspian Sea and Iran (Sapetin, 1978). Phenology. The great white egret belongs to the early arriving species. The first birds can appear, even when the reservoirs are covered with ice, but in general the arrival is rather stretched. In East. Europe, it is registered from late February to the first half of April. In the southern regions, the first individuals may register earlier.

So, on Lebyazhykh Islands in 2003, an arrival was noted on February 7 (Kostin, Tarina, 2004). In 1958, on the Manych, the first herons were met on February 18 (Oleinikov, Goncharov, 1967). The average arrival time in different regions falls on March - the first decade of April. The deviation from the average dates is usually 11-14 days (Table 26). As we move north and deep into the continent, the arrival times are shifted to later ones. So, in the Saratov region. Egrets arrive only in the first half of April (Zavyalov et al., 2005). In the southern part of Belarus, the first birds are noted at the end of March - beginning of April, the earliest registration is March 6, 2002 (Abramchuk, Abramchuk, 2005). In the Volga delta, the first birds appear at the end of February, in some years even earlier. In the first decade of March there is an intensive flight of flocks of up to 200 individuals (Lugovoy, 1963). According to the observations of E.P. Spangenberg (1951), the number of herons under Lankaran begins to increase from the end of February, an intensive passage begins in March and ends by the end of this month.

By Alice | Rubric Photo | Date 03-10-2011

| Rubric Photo | Date 03-10-2011

The great white heron is a surprisingly beautiful and graceful bird. It lives in Europe, Asia, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand.

The Great White Heron is a rather large bird, 94-104 cm high, with a wingspan of 130-145 cm. At the same time, the weight of adults is not large at all - about 1 kg.

The snow-white plumage, the long s-shaped neck, the dark gray paws and the long yellow-colored beak are business cards of the white heron, distinguishing it from other herons. After the autumn molt, the birds' plumage changes: the males and females appear long white feathers in the upper body, which during the mating season turn into a needle-like continuation of the tail.

The habitats of the great white heron are the shores of various water bodies: sea coasts, marshy lowlands, floodplains and rivers, fresh and salt lakes, mangroves. In addition, these herons can be seen in agricultural land, in open fields.

The bird moves very smoothly and stately over land, pulling its neck. The sixth cervical heron is designed in such a way that the bird can quickly extend its neck or draw it into itself.

A real pleasure to watch the flight of these birds, slow and elegant. Flight speed varies in the range - 28-50 m / s.

The bird feeds on fish, frogs, reptiles and insects, hunting in shallow water or along the water's edge. Only occasionally pursues prey, preferring to have lunch come to her himself.

The great white heron nests in the colonies, not far from water bodies, it is characterized by seasonal monogamy, that is, couples are created for one mating season. But there are cases of reunion couples.

Courting during the mating season is a complex process, accompanied by ritual dances.

The nest of great white herons is a massive pile of sticks and twigs. As a rule, the male finds building material, and the female lays a nest out of it.

The female lays up to five eggs, but few chicks survive. The fact is that herons are rather aggressive chicks, larger ones often kill their smaller brothers and sisters, fighting for access to feeding.

At present, the great white heron does not face extinction. Although there was a time when the bird was under threat. In the late nineteenth century, beautiful heron feathers were used to decorate ladies' hats.