Bird Families

Coral: White layers with coral eggs

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The kinglet is one of the smallest songbirds in our country. Its weight is only 5-6 g. In the forest, the korolka can most likely be heard and recognized by its thin, low whistle: "si-si-si" or by the same whistling song with a short trill at the end of the song. Having heard a thin whistle or a song, as a rule, distributed from old tall fir trees, you can also notice the tiny greenish birds themselves with a bright golden cap and two light stripes on their wings.

The area of ​​the yellow-headed king is very large. The kinglet is widespread in coniferous, primarily spruce and partly pine forests of Europe, mountain forests of southern Siberia. He lives in the Himalayas and the mountains of Western China, here in Primorye and on the island of Sakhalin. Widely distributed in the taiga and mixed forests of North America. But the huge range of the beetle is very fragmented. The beetle does not inhabit vast areas, mainly of larch forests of Eastern Siberia. It is not found in many even spruce forests of our North and Western Siberia. All this characterizes the kinglet as a rather thermophilic bird, inhabiting spruce forests only in relatively warm regions. In most of its range, it is a sedentary and only partially nomadic bird. The singing of korolkov can be heard even in winter and very early spring, and in February - March. But this is usually not sung by local, but by northern, wintering birds in our country. The bloodworms nesting in the middle lane appear at the nesting sites only from the end of March. Spring migrations and flights continue until the very beginning of May.

On nesting, the yellow-headed beetle is closely associated with forests of the southern taiga type, but it still gives a clear preference almost everywhere to spruce forests. In the breeding season, it prefers ripe tall-stemmed spruce forests. In mixed forests it nests only where there are either individual spruces or their groups. This feature of the nesting behavior of the beetle is especially striking at the southern border of its range, where old spruces are rare. Here even small areas of spruce forests can become nesting places for these birds.


Kinglets live and nest only in spruce forests. Photo by G. N. Simkin

Regular singing of korolki can be heard only after the dispersion of winter flocks and the completion of spring migrations and flights. Since April, the singing does not stop until the end of August - until the second broods rise on the wing. Some males, however, sing again in September. This is the so-called autumn singing.

The song of the yellow-headed king has a clear typological structure. This is a naturally formed, finished song. It is formed from the usual whistling urges of the king, which are quickly repeated in various ways and variants and usually ends with a short trill. The kinglet actively sings both during the current, while protecting the nesting area, and during mating, incubating the clutch, and even feeding the chicks. Males often sing when searching for food.

The song of the king, like many other birds, has many biological functions. It also serves as a signal for the presence or appearance of a mating male on the site, as a signal for calling, encouraging a female. With its help, the kinglet notifies the female about its condition, events in the external environment and much more. With dense nesting, individual males can, with the help of a song, enter into a vocal coordinated connection with each other, demonstrating their art, experience and position in the flock. But nevertheless, the main function of the song of korolkov, in our opinion, is territorial. For so long, a lot, and almost continuously during the entire nesting time, the kinglets sing because the protection of the nesting area is the most important and responsible thing for them. Nesting birds, especially males, are very jealous of each other and actively defend their sites. It is extremely rare, even in the context of an acute shortage of old nesting spruces in the forest, that families of bloodworms can be found nesting close to each other. This happens sometimes only in those cases when spruce trees with the so-called comb-like structure of a spruce paw, like the roof of a hut, are nearby. This amazing affection of the beetle for comb firs, which are quite rare in European forests, was first noted by the famous Scandinavian scientist Palmgren in 1932. Under the cover of such a branch, the nest fastening is the most durable. Here, the nest is especially reliably hidden and it is extremely rare to notice it. Most nests are arranged on old tall spruce trees, preferring to hang them at a great height, closer to the top. Nests are also found at a height of 3 to 6 m. But most of them are located above 6 m (from 8 to 15 m). Usually the male chooses the nesting tree and fixes it to himself with almost continuous singing. In the early days, it is on the nesting tree that he sings most often. The male builds the nest for 10-12 days together with the female, usually placing it closer to the end on the lower side of the spruce paw. The nest is suspended on thin spruce twigs hanging from the nesting paw itself. These twigs are woven into its side walls. The diameter of the tray is slightly less than the diameter of the nest itself, which is why the nest takes the form of a wallet or a deep basket. The basis of the nest is green moss, sometimes mixed with lichens and fastened with cobwebs together with spider cocoons. Often, aspen and willow down are woven into the walls of the nest. The tray is lined with wool, feathers mixed with horsehair.


Yellow-headed beads hang their spherical, unusually warm and neat nest from the underside of a spruce branch. Photo by Yu. B. Shibnev

The first clutches of eggs most often appear in the second half of May, mass clutches - at the end of May. The female usually lays eggs in the morning. Incubation begins after the last egg has been laid. In a full clutch there are usually 8-10 yellowish or pale red eggs with brown-red specks. One female incubates for 13-16 days. In the nest, young beetles sit longer than other birds, 16-17 days. Both parents feed them with very small and soft food: clutches, insect larvae, aphids and spiders. The size of the nest, in comparison with the clutch and especially the grown chicks, is very small, and therefore the chicks sit in the nest, closely pressed against each other, which, apparently, is very important for keeping warm.


Yellow-headed beetle. Photo by Ya.A. Pasteur

They look for food, like the tits, very carefully examining branch after branch, often hanging themselves from each, even a tiny bunch of needles or end whorls of branches. Food is collected on nesting spruce and nearby conifers. Much less often birds fly for food at 15-20 m from the nest. The area of ​​the hunting area, according to the observations of E. S. Ptushenko, in the spruce forest usually does not exceed 2000 m 2. Mass emergence of chicks in the Moscow region is more often observed in the second half of June. After leaving the nest, the chicks stay together for another 3-4 days, sitting on a branch in a row, closely hugging each other. First, the parents feed them on the nesting tree, and then in the crowns of neighboring trees. The entire period of supplementation takes 7-8 days.

According to the observations of A.S. Malchevsky, a chick that has accidentally fallen down and is not yet capable of flight can quite deftly move along a vertical trunk, clinging to the irregularities of the bark. The desire to climb higher is innate, since the chick climbs up even on the person standing next to it. Grown-up chicks, which have already dispersed along different branches and trees, emit a thin squeak, reminiscent of the calling signals of fledglings of long-tailed tits or penduline tit. Based on these signals, parents find and feed them. Feeding lasts all daylight hours, with breaks of no more than 30-40 minutes. Each of the adult birds manages to transfer up to 300 portions of food to the chicks per day, flying up to the nest in 2-3 minutes.

From mid-June to mid-July, a new wave of carol singing is usually heard in the forest. It indicates the beginning of the second clutch. At this time, the chicks of the first clutch that left their parents begin to migrate in small flocks along the surrounding spruce forests. In August, united flocks of young and adult birds appear, often together with titmouses, and then warblers, nuthatches, woodpeckers and pikas. At the end of August, the migrations take on an ever greater scope, autumn migrations begin, the first northern flocks appear, usually more trusting of people. They keep not only in the crowns of spruces, firs, pines, but are already more often found on deciduous trees, as well as in shrubs, in spruce undergrowth. During migrations, in autumn and spring, beetles sometimes collect food on the ground, swarm among dry grass under the forest canopy, visit thickets of willows and reeds in floodplains. With the fall of snow, they quite often descend to the ground and peck insects from the surface of the snow. In winter, especially with mass migrations to the south, the beetles often keep on alders, oaks, fruit trees in gardens and parks, especially where there are at least single spruce trees.


Yellow-headed beetles are sedentary birds. In winter, they feed not only in spruce forests, but also in deciduous forests. Photo by G. N. Simkin

Large migrations, especially in cold years without food and winters, are more often performed by young birds. During these years, according to the observations of Leningrad ornithologists, thousands of little birds fly from the north, often in large flocks. In such years, birds marked in our country were met on wintering grounds in Italy, Sweden, Germany and other European countries. Many researchers consider the beetle as an exclusively insectivorous bird. In many areas, the basis of their food ration is made up of isoptera, mainly leaf beetles. According to A.A. Inozemtsev, in winter it is the main food of korolkov. They constantly eat spiders, small beetles (weevils, leaf beetles), small butterflies, their pupae and caterpillars, as well as aphids and mosquitoes. Sometimes in the stomachs of beetles, old researchers found pine and spruce seeds, but with the most careful observations it was never possible to prove that spruce or pine seeds are included in the group of essential winter food. However, it has long been known that many beetles, when kept in captivity, willingly eat spruce seeds. Recently, information has appeared that in winter, in cold and snowy weather, before spending the night, the kinglets still collect spruce seeds, which are completely digested by dawn.

Description of the breed

The head is small, slightly flat. The beak is light yellow, the tip is bent down. The crest is small in size, leaf-shaped, dark pink or red, in roosters there are clearly pronounced teeth of 4-5 pieces. Earlobes are almost not pronounced, light pink or whitish.

The back is narrow, long, sloping. The wings are well developed, set high. The tail is short, short braids directed upwards. The shins are of medium length, feathered. Metatarsus unfeathered, bright yellow, thin.

Chickens are covered with down, white with a black dot on the forehead. The weight of day-old coral chickens is about 35 g.

Coral's temperament is calm, balanced. They easily take root in the new flock, they also calmly perceive newcomers. Aggression is extremely rare... Other animals can steal food from them when accessing the feeders.

Chickens lack a maternal instinct, since there is no need for it - the offspring does not inherit parental traits. To obtain a breed of pullets, chickens or hatching eggs are purchased from the manufacturer.

A feature of the breed is forced molt. The procedure allows you to increase the duration of egg production. Most often, forced molting is carried out in winter, when the birds are not allowed to go outside.... For the procedure, special preparations are introduced into the feed. For a more favorable transfer of feather change, viburnum, hawthorn, cottage cheese, chalk and crushed shells, fish meal are added to the feed. Adding crickets and grasshoppers will help replenish your protein supply.

Updating is carried out as old chickens are slaughtered - their productivity decreases by three years... A planned replacement is usually carried out every two years. Day-old chicks or pullets are purchased at the age of 3-4 months. With the acquisition of hatching eggs, the survival rate can reach 100%, usually ranges from 95-98%.

Dignity:

  • unpretentiousness,
  • livability,
  • high rates of egg production,
  • endurance.

disadvantages:

  • high flight - up to 2 m,
  • lack of maternal instinct,
  • tendency to obesity,
  • the need to artificially increase daylight hours in winter.

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