- Ptarmigan in winter and summer
- Mating season
- Caring for Brood
- Natural enemies
The ptarmigan is a beautiful bird native to the Northern Hemisphere, a climate zone known for its harsh living conditions. Its meat is tasty and nutritious, which is why it is often hunted at certain times of the year. Photos and descriptions of ptarmigan are further presented in this article.
Traditionally, the white-feathered partridge is a bird of cold latitudes, characterized by high rainfall and long, harsh winters. For her, the taiga, tundra and forest-tundra zones are considered to be her home. She prefers to settle in swamps, where there is a lot of peat and moss.
The ptarmigan lives in North America, Eurasia and Greenland. It can also be found in the swampy areas of Scotland and England. As for the territory of Russia, here she lives on Sakhalin and Kamchatka.
White partridge is a small bird, body length varies from 33 to 40 cm, weight - no more than 700 g. The male is always slightly larger than the female. Belongs to the grouse family and belongs to the chicken order. Partridge neckshort and small head. The beak is small, strong, bent down. The bird has short legs covered with thick down, which protects it well from extreme cold.
Claws are very sharp. With them, the partridge is able to break even ice crusts in order to get food, as well as dig holes. Its wings are small and rounded, so it only rarely flies.
Ptarmigan in winter and summer
This bird changes color several times a year, but it looks great anyway. In winter, the plumage of the partridge is snow-white, but very often the outer tail feathers remain black. Her legs also attract attention. They are shaggy and densely dotted with a short white feather. This color contributes to merging with the environment, which helps the bird not only to disguise itself, but also to survive in such difficult natural conditions.
As spring arrives, ptarmigans begin to fleck their plumage with yellows and browns, and their eyebrows turn red. This is how, by the beginning of summer, the bird acquires a motley color, although the lower part of the body remains the same snow-white. With the onset of heat, it will turn completely brown or brown. Only flight feathers, legs and abdomen remain lighter. The female begins to change her winter attire before the male. Its plumage is much lighter, so from afar you can determine the gender of the bird.
Partridges gather in small flocks of 10-15 individuals and form pairs only during the breeding season. These birds lead the groundLifestyle. Due to their color, they are easily camouflaged. They are awake during the day, and at night they hide in dense vegetation. Partridges fly very rarely, and even then only for short distances. Her main mode of transportation is fast running.
This bird is very careful. Looking for food, she moves carefully and almost silently, from time to time looking around. Sensing danger, it first freezes, letting its opponent get closer, and then suddenly takes off sharply. Before the flight, the birds gather in large flocks, which can consist of 200-300 individuals.
White partridge flies quite rarely, which is why it is looking for food for itself on the ground. The basis of its diet is various shrub vegetation. For their nesting, birds most often choose hummocky tundra areas, where mainly willow, dwarf birch and berry forests grow. Sedentary these birds live only in the southern regions, partridges from the northern regions fly there for the winter.
In winter, they live in the thickness of the snow, making special chambers filled with air in it. In order to feed themselves, the birds have to make moves. In winter, they eat the buds and shoots of trees and shrubs. They especially like willow growing near lakes, as well as shoots of dwarf birches. In summer they feed on leaves, berries, seeds and insects. The latter make up no more than 3% of the total amount of food. Of the berries, they prefer blueberries, cranberries, hawthorn and blueberries.
Bird diet mainlylow-calorie, so she eats a lot, filling a huge goiter. For better digestion of hard food, birds have to swallow small pebbles.
When spring comes, the male is transformed: his head and neck change color and become red-brown. During the mating season, a bird can be recognized by its sonorous, sharp sounds. They are accompanied by peculiar "dances", which are complemented by flapping and loud flapping of wings. The male partridge becomes aggressive and often rushes into the fray at his own relatives who dare to violate his territory.
The behavior of the female also changes. If earlier representatives of the opposite sex were of little interest to her, now she herself is trying to find a mate for herself. Having copulated, the female alone begins to build a nest. The place is usually chosen somewhere under a tussock, hiding in bushes or among other tall plants. There she digs a hole and then lines it with her feathers, twigs, leaves and plant stems from nearby.
White partridge starts laying eggs no earlier than the end of May. Usually they are painted in a pale yellow color with variegated specks on them. One female is able to lay about 8-10 eggs. The hatching process is quite long and lasts at least 20 days. Only the female does this, without leaving the nest even for a minute. The male guards his mate and future chicks.
Caring for Brood
Although partridges andare considered herbivorous birds, but in the first days of the birth of offspring they are fed exclusively with bugs, worms, spiders and flies, since newborn chicks need animal protein. To protect their brood from possible dangers, it is taken to a safer place. At the slightest threat, the kids hide in dense greenery and freeze.
Both parents take care of the chicks until they are two months old. Puberty in partridges occurs one year after birth.
The lifespan of a white-feathered bird is short, only four to seven years.
White partridge, the photo of which can be seen in this article, is listed in the Red Book. The population of these birds living in the forests of the European part of Russia, due to unauthorized hunting, as well as too long winters that do not allow females to start nesting, began to gradually decrease.
In addition, partridge's natural enemies, which are arctic foxes and snowy owls, also contribute to this. They begin to actively hunt the bird only when the number of lemmings, which are the main food of predators, is rapidly falling. This happens about once every 4-5 years.