Appearance and behavior. The largest of our grebes. The length of the body is 46–51 cm, the wingspan is 85–90 cm. It is distinguished by a long thin neck and a large, elongated head with a narrow and sharp straight beak. In the marriage attire, the head seems even larger because of the lush sideburns and the forked crest, which resembles the horns. He likes to stay in open water, dives at danger, takes off very hard and reluctantly, after a long run. In the air, however, the chomgi sometimes form flocks of the wedge-shaped shape characteristic of most waterfowl (from toadstools such constructions were also seen in the gray-haired ear). In a winter dress, it differs from a similar gray-breasted grebe by the presence of a white eyebrow, which separates the eye from the dark “cap”.
Description. In the marriage dress, the body is greyish-brown (sides are reddish, white belly), the neck is light, only a dark stripe stretches along its back side, chestnut-red "sideburns", a cap and "horns" are black, the "face" is white, only from the corners of the mouth dark stripes are drawn to the eyes. The eyes themselves are red, and the color of the beak can be from gray-steel to bright pink. In a flying bird, large white spots on the wings are clearly visible — along the minor wing feathers and along the leading edge of the wing, with an approach to the entire base of the wing. In the winter dress, “sideburns” and “horns” disappear, otherwise the color remains about the same as in summer (only brown and reddish tones are replaced with gray). Approximately in the same way as adult birds in winter, fully fledged young look, but they are distinguished by the presence of dark markings on the sides of the neck and cheeks. Downy chicks are completely striped (including the back and even the beak), with age the stripes on the back gradually disappear, on the head and neck they are noticeable much longer, until the emergence of adult plumage. Little chicks have non-feathering red skin between the corners of the mouth and eyes, as well as on the forehead.
Vote she is loud and she loves to scream. Most often heard rolling "croo", And at excitement - jerky"check-check". Nestlings almost continuously squeak, in water bodies where the sand is common, this squeak forms a sound background in the summer.
Distribution, status. It nests almost all over Eurasia (in Siberia - only in the south), local foci in Africa, Australia, New Zealand. Wintering sites are located to the tropical belt. In European Russia, the most widespread and numerous grebe. To the north it reaches Karelia, to the south - to the Black Sea coast. Our birds overwinter in the coastal waters of the Black and Azov seas, but, like other grebes, in the presence of non-freezing water, chomga is able to winter almost everywhere. Everywhere is not uncommon.
Lifestyle. For breeding schomge requires a fairly extensive reservoir, rich in fish. Willingly settles on reservoirs, ponds of fish farms, as well as on natural lakes. Most often nests near the outer (that is, facing to the ridge) edge of reed beds, the nest is a floating pile of moist flesh of plant residues. Where there is a lot of people, they are quite tolerant of their neighbors' neighbors, and sometimes the nests are located several meters apart from each other. However, these nested colonies, in contrast to the black-necked grebes, do not form. After hatching chicks, parents, as a rule, migrate with them on their backs to the open water, where they stay until the young rise to the wing. The main food for chomgam is small fish (no more than 15 cm long), they are sometimes offered to small chicks aquatic insects.
Chomga, or great grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Bird squad grebes lives in the eastern hemisphere of our planet. In the southern areas they are settled, in the north - migratory.
Birds arrive in central Russia in April. Young grebes occupy only new nests. But the old men mostly settle on the old ones. Each pair of nesting area is quite extensive - several hundred meters in circumference. And his wife is jealously guarded. At the same time, if there are few good places for nesting, the birds get along normally in colonies. For example, once in the Azov Sea on the island of Long (this is a narrow strip of land 1.8 km long with a maximum width of 20 m), zoologists counted 165 nests.
Grebe is a bird, the nest of which is mainly located in such a way that all growing vegetation - reed, reed, sedge - protects it from wind, alien eyes and waves. There must also be free access for the bird swimming up to it.
Sometimes the work on the construction of a nest in birds alternate with toking. It usually precedes construction. The grebe bird (its photos are presented in this article), having laid the next part of building material, begins the ceremony of courtesies. So, swimming towards each other, they both lower and then raise their heads. Then, having thrust out his chest, he rises abruptly above the water, while each repeats the movements of the other, as if in a mirror. Periodically, such wedding rituals are done with a stalk in the beak. Looking at these birds with their graceful feather collars, you recall the grand movements of the ballet soloists - they move very gracefully and synchronously.
Toadstool - a bird laying 3-4 greenish-white eggs in May. They very quickly become olive-brown in color from rotting plants located in their nest. Females also contribute to this by covering their clutch with plants if they leave the nest for a while. It should be noted that the female and male incubate the eggs. In June, chicks appear. From birth, they are wonderful swimmers, but parents teach them to dive.
It also happens very interesting - one of the adults slowly swims past the babies, holding food in the beak, then - again. And the kids, in turn, try to grab the fish. Following the grebe with her dives, inviting children to do the same. But young people do not follow the example of their parents. In this case, one of them puts food on the water and calls from afar: "Kwong-kvong!"
The chicks rush to the crowd, and only the best swimmer can get their well-deserved reward. It is touching to watch how the little ones, tired of the long voyage, crawl onto the back of the parent to rest, after which she, diving, is freed from her precious burden.
Toadstool (bird): food
Parents of striped chicks are fed by worms, insects, fish. At the same time, they themselves do not refuse crustaceans, frogs, mollusks, but, of course, preference is given to fish. Be sure to note one interesting feature: in the toadstools in the stomachs you can always find a clump of feathers. Grebe is a bird that collects them in the water and plucks them out. This is explained by the fact that they inhabit the reservoirs in which the oozy soil.
Here you can not find the stones that other birds swallow to improve the grinding of food in the stomachs. Although some ornithologists disagree with this common statement. They believe that the feather ball is a kind of sieve, which delays the bones of the fish. But whatever opinion may turn out to be true, the chicks already from the first days of life receive from parents with food and given feathers.
Young toadstools become independent at the age of 2.5 months. They have a brown plumage at this time, and there are also not particularly clear stripes on the neck and head. Adult attire will appear a little later. It should be noted that especially elegant birds in the spring. Two bunches of horns (or ears) on the head and a collar on the neck of a red color form elongated feathers. The top of the ears and the edges of the collar are black. Wings and back with transverse white stripes - dark brown. And the bottom of the body is brilliantly white.
Due to its satin plumage, the grebe bird, the photo of which can be seen in this article, drank grief. So, in the nineteenth century, from the skins of these birds, they began to make muffs, caps, trim for ladies wear, boa.
It is interesting that the bird feather fishing sometimes increased, sometimes fell. For example, in the seventies of the last century, about 100 thousand birds' skins were delivered to the Moscow market each year from the Akmola region alone!
A huge number of toadstools also died in the states of Western Europe in the period of the next boom, which at the beginning of this century was caused by an incredible demand for products made of their down. Therefore, it is not surprising that toadstools were rarely met in Europe several decades ago. Such is the fashion!
The appearance of the noble chomgi
Learn a great toadstool is not difficult, even from afar. On the head in the summer, vertical feathers grow, which resemble horns or a crown. They have a multi-colored color, which favorably distinguishes the bird against the background of other avifauna representatives. The bird is considered quite large, its average weight is about a kilogram. The back is brown or red, and the belly, neck and head are white in color. In the spring, in the early stages of the plumage, a red-haired collar forms around the neck, which by winter disappears without a trace.
Males differ from females primarily in size. The length of the wing of a male individual can exceed 20 cm. The body length reaches 50 cm, and the wingspan can reach up to a meter. Thin beak has a reddish color. A feature of homga are its paws, which work in the form of screws. With them, the bird is able to quickly turn 90 degrees, change the direction of its movement, both along and across the original trajectory. There are special membranes on the paws of chomgi, which allow it to dive a few meters into the water, swim at a depth and, in general, perfectly manage the body in the water column.
Today, birdwatchers around the world know about 18 species of chomgi. Due to the unfavorable ecological situation and widespread pollution of water bodies, 5 of these species are listed in the Red Book as an endangered species. A few dozen years ago, poachers attacked the beautiful plumage of birds, when women's fur coats with similar fur inserts were in vogue. It also played a crucial role in reducing the population of the toadstool.
Features lifestyle chomgi
In the water, the snowman swims and dives perfectly, but on land it feels rather clumsy - the short legs allow you to move very relatively along the coast. For this reason, the duck swims in most cases, other ways of movement are considered forced. For the flight there should also be a weighty base, for example, a flight for the winter. When a danger occurs, a large grebe is more likely to dive under the water, where it may not be afraid for its life, since in the water element this bird simply has no equal. Homie expertly presses the wings to the body to improve the hydrodynamics, this allows the waterfowl to gain incredible speed at depth. This is a great way to protect against enemies, which is enough for a Chomga. Large birds, for example, a crow or a marsh harrier can ruin nests and eat eggs of a great grebes. Once chomgi chicks hatch and get into the water, they can become a tasty food for large predatory fish.
The main food of the great grebes
Since water is the natural habitat of comma, it feeds on what it can get in the pond. The main diet consists of medium and small fish, which the grebe duck swallows completely. Sometimes under water, along with the fish, the bird can swallow its own feathers, which subsequently the toadstool simply regurgitates back, along with fish bones. In addition, the sandfish feeds on other aquatic inhabitants - frogs, crustaceans, various mollusks and insects. If the birds arrived in early spring, when the reservoirs are still covered with ice, the grebe gladly regales the first spring vegetation. If the ponds and stagnant lakes do not freeze for the winter, the bird in most cases does not fly away for the winter, it only needs to dive deep enough into the water to get its livelihood. It dives really deep; there have been cases when fishermen found birds stuck in fishing nets at a depth of 25-30 meters. In addition, the grebe duck is able to hold air for a long time and stay under water for 15-20 seconds.
In the mating season, individuals of the great toadstool become incredibly beautiful and refined. A spectacular forelock grows on the head, and a collar appears around the head that looks more like whiskers. Marriage games are long and intense - individuals flaunt each other, pulling and showing the partner the long neck and span of large wings. At the same time there are loud sounds that are usually heard for hundreds of meters around. After the birds have chosen a partner for themselves, the couple begins to build a nest. As a rule, the sandball builds a nest on water from reeds or dry plants that do not sink. In some cases, the nest can be built on an island of floating peat. From the side, such a floating nest seems to be a bunch of unnecessary garbage, although in reality there is a hollow inside the dry stalks and leaves. In the depth of the nest there are several large white eggs, they have an unusual shape, sharp at the edges.
Over time, the eggs of the snow-white become brown, acquiring a marsh shade due to the fact that the surrounding vegetation in the water rots. Such a nest in the water in a half-drunk state is a guarantee of the safety of the life of the chicks. Eggs hatch 3-4 weeks, during which the female tries not to leave them. If it is forced to leave, the eggs are simply closed on top with grass and reeds. With an interval of several days, the chicks hatch one after another. At birth, they already have a small fluff, the chicks hiding under the maternal wing. Almost immediately, the female puts the young on their backs and begins to dive with them into the water in order to accustom them to the natural environment.
Nestlings become fully grown after 2-3 months, when the mother releases them to free swimming and they begin to take care of their own food. In the wild, Chomga lives about 10-15 years, in conditions of nature reserves it is much more - almost 25 years.
Appearance and characteristics
Actually, chomga is not a duck. They are similar only in size and color from afar. However, the name duck grebe was firmly established in the people. The bird deserved a nickname not by chance. The specificity of nutrition by mollusks and fish made the meat very tasteless, endowed with a sharp and unpleasant smell. According to the classification, the duck belongs to the waterfowl birds of the family Pogankov.
The bird looks like this:
- Body length 46-61 cm. Weight about 700 g.
- Small head, thin, long neck.
- The back is covered with dark brownish feathers.
- The wings are narrow and short.
- Belly, neck, head white.
- The beak is straight, elongated, red in color, with a curved tip.
Small wings and poorly developed muscles, which set them in motion, enable the bird to fly quickly, but without special maneuvers. Because of this, the duck moves in the air in a straight line and sits only on the water. When contact with the ground can lead to injury.
Attention! A distinctive item in the description of the heel is the legs. Long fingers with folds are able to perform a turn of 90º, stand up and down the movement.
The duck swims well and dives well. If necessary, it quickly sinks under water to a depth of 6-7 m.
By the mating season, elongated feathers grow on the head, forming whiskers and “horns”. It is at this time that the bird is trying to capture the photo.
Lifestyle and places of residence
The grebe lives on the eastern hemisphere of the Earth. In southern areas, the duck lives permanently, in northern areas it migrates for the winter. For nesting shepherds choose standing bodies of water surrounded by dense vegetation.
In central Russia, a duck arrives in April and begins to look for a pair. The readiness for reproduction is indicated by the regrowth on the head of the birds of the crest and whiskers.
Matrimonial games at the big schools are very interesting. Having met each other, the male and the female take on various enticing poses. Birds open wings, stand in columns. No ritual without “songs”. During the period of flirting, the duck makes very loud sounds.
After determining the pair build a nest. Place choose hidden from prying eyes thick aquatic vegetation. Each pair has its own, jealously guarded area. Flirting continues. Often there is a "dancing" couple with sprigs in their beaks.
A chomg nest is floating with a recess for eggs located in the center. Dry building material is used as building material. The width of the nests reaches half a meter. The same size of the part is under water. Laying duck 3-4 eggs.
Over time, parts of plants begin to rot, which is accompanied by heat. This helps the bird to safely hatch the offspring surrounded by water. The babies who appeared after 24 days are already able to swim and go with the mother to the water. You can often see a duck swimming with a brood sitting on its back.
Having reached the age of 2.5 months, toadstools go over to an independent lifestyle. By October, the great plains gather in flocks and go for the winter.
Feeding birds and natural enemies
Duck grebe spends almost all the time in the water. Accordingly, it also produces food for itself. In the course are insects, frogs, mollusks, crustaceans. Основным кормом считается рыба. До сих пор не установлена орнитологами причина одной из особенностей питания – утка регулярно заглатывает перья. В результате в желудке скапливается по несколько перьевых комков. Некоторые ученые утверждают, что таким образом чомга лучше переваривает пищу. Другие сходятся во мнении, что комки являются своеобразными ситечками для рыбьих костей.
Из естественных врагов отмечают болотного луня. But even such a mother predator is not easy to catch a crested bird. If the harrier appears in sight, the duck together with the brood dives under the water and swims about 20 meters from the original location. Kids firmly held claws for feathers on the back and make a maneuver with my mother.
A grebe duck is a very interesting bird that ornithologists never cease to admire, noticing all the new and new features.
Homplegus, the size of a small duck has a straight beak, slightly elongated wings and a rather thin neck. Males of these birds, as a rule, are larger than females.
The length of the wing of females is from 16.8 to 19.9 cm, in males 17.5 to 20.9 cm. The adult female weighs from 570 to 1400 g, while the male from 600 to 1500 g. In winter, the head of an adult individual top dark gray. In the back of the head there are two light, almost white spots.
Grebe (Podiceps cristatus).
The back is dark in color, with a light edging of feathers. The belly and chest are white. In the mating season, a dirty-orange collar, located around the neck, is added to the coloration. Also on the head grow black feathers, outwardly similar to the small "ears."
Habitat great toadstools
This duck is found throughout Europe, except in the northernmost regions. In Central Asia, Chomga lives south of Tyumen and Omsk, up to Khanka Lake. This bird is also found in New Zealand and southeast Australia. It also lives in the north and south of Africa. Those birds that live in non-freezing reservoirs are sedentary and do not fly.
The mating games of great toadstools take place in the water, they are very unusual and have their own strict ritual.
Where ponds freeze, the Chomga makes seasonal migrations to the south in an area with a warmer climate. Toadstools nest, as a rule, on reservoirs with stagnant water or extremely slow current. Another prerequisite is dense vegetation along the banks of such water bodies.
This duck has very short legs, which makes movement on land extremely difficult. On the surface, chomga looks extremely awkward and feels insecure. It is quite another thing when it comes to reservoirs. In water, chomga feels great. She dives well and swims. This duck is able to overcome sufficiently long distances under water. When diving chomga wield only with their feet. The wings while she pressed to the body, which contributes to better hydrodynamics. Departing from danger, the bird often dives into the depths.
Thanks to its adjusted weight, the scombs easily dive under water.
In everyday life, chomga rarely resorts to flight. Long-haul flights are made only for wintering.
The enemies of this bird during the nesting season are birds of prey such as the marsh harrier and the crow. They ruin nests, feeding on eggs of chomg. For chicks, large predatory fish are particularly dangerous.
The diet of large toadstools
As already mentioned above, the most convenient environment for the life of this duck is water. And the food industry is no exception. Most of the time, the pulp feed produces it on water. The main product of this duck's diet is small and medium fish. In addition to fish, it also feeds on frogs, crustaceans, aquatic insects, and aquatic vegetation.
For food, chomgi can dive to a depth of 7 meters.
The main way of getting food is diving. Under water, on average, they are 17 seconds. They dive to a depth of 1 to 4 meters, however, there have been cases when scombs entangled in fishing nets at a depth of 30m. In winter, in search of food, they have to dive deeper than during the rest of the year.
Together with food, they often swallow their own feathers. These feathers they then belch together with the bones of the fish in the form of small lumps, the so-called pogades.