Description and Features
Most modern citizens can hardly recognize and distinguish most of the small birds of the Russian fauna - only sparrows and tits are known to all.
Meanwhile, small birds, which in the qualifiers are classified as "the size of a sparrow" or "slightly smaller than the sparrow," are numerous in domestic forests and fields. One of such quite common, but poorly recognizable birds - yurok (or reel).
Actually, the name finch is more scientific: finch belongs to the family finch, including many species. Each of these species is called a finch, plus some additional definition, for example, "alpine finch", "Himalayan finch" and so on.
Yurk is called only the most common and familiar bird in the family in Europe and Russia. Since we will mainly discuss it later, we will use this name as well.
The Latin name of the yurka is Fringilla montifringilla, which can be translated as "mountain finch". This is quite true: the Yurok is really the closest relative to the finch, and many representatives of the finch family prefer to live in the mountains.
Despite the low recognition, Yurok - bird with pretty catchy looks. The back, nuhvoste and top of the head of these birds are dark, almost black, the abdomen and stripes on the tail are white, and the chest and shoulders are painted in ocher or orange.
Black and orange-red stripes with white marks alternate on the wings. Mature males of 3 years of age are most clearly colored, especially in the warm season: they have orange, black and white plumage tones that are saturated and form contrasting spots. Young males and females look dimmer, color spots are weak and smoothly flow into each other.
In winter, adult males become somewhat dull. The size of the yurka does not differ from sparrows: the length of the bird is 14–16 cm, weight is about 25 g. The composition of the yurka is rather dense, the body is round, but the tail is slightly longer than the sparrow.
Outwardly, a finch is most similar to a yurka. It is especially easy to confuse these birds due to the fact that they often form mixed flocks in which both species are present. It is easier to distinguish adult males from a finch from a finch, since there is no bright orange color in the plumage of the latter. Females and young males of a yurka are distinguished by a darker head (without reddish cheeks and a hat with a bluish tint, typical for finches).
Yurk singing not too harmonious. He does not give out long roulades, his voice is rather abrupt and sharp. To convey this in letters, as is often done, is a thankless task. Usually the hurok emits either the usual twittering of small birds or chirping (somewhat similar to grasshoppers, but much more abruptly).
Actually, auroch or reel - this is a separate and single species that remains unchanged throughout its habitat. But there are quite a lot of finch species in the world, although not all of them are closely related to a real yurk. In Russia, in addition to a real yurk, there are:
- Siberian or Siberian mountain reel, which, as the name implies, lives in Siberia and the Far East. He doesn't look so bright what does a yurok bird look like: much darker, no orange on chest. The bird itself is a little larger.
- Alpine, or snowy reel - in Russia it can be seen only in the Caucasus and Altai. Coloring is black-gray, without orange spots.
- Himalayan finch - similar to Alpine, but in Russia even less common: its range affects our country only on the very edge, in the Altai Territory.
- The royal, or korolkovoy, finch is perhaps the most beautiful of the finches of the domestic fauna. He is the smallest of them (noticeably smaller than a sparrow), but it is impossible not to notice it: on a dark, almost black plumage, a bright red hat on his head stands out, which the bird owes its name. In Russia, this reel is found only in the North Caucasus, Stavropol Territory and in the south of the Krasnodar Territory.
Other species of birds, in the official name of which the word "finch" is present, live south of Russia. They are found almost everywhere in Asia, Africa and America, as well as on most islands of the oceans. Perhaps the most famous of them are the Galapagos finches, endemic to the islands west of South America.
Scientists distinguish 13 types of Galapagos finches. They came from a common ancestor, but, finding themselves in island isolation, mastered different ecological niches and acquired appropriate specialization: now these finches differ in size and shape of beaks, depending on the nature of the food and the characteristics of the extraction of a particular food.
The observation of the Galapagos finches was one of the impetus that led Charles Darwin to create his famous theory of natural selection at the origin of the species.
Lifestyle & Habitat
Yurok is very widespread in Russia - from the Baltic to Kamchatka. Its range actually coincides with the forest belt of Russia. The bird has developed both coniferous and deciduous forests, but if possible gives preference to deciduous, with a predominance of birch.
The lifestyle of a yurk is typical enough for a small forest bird. Most of all, he loves forest edges with bushes and plenty of sun. The bird feels confident both in the air (the flight of a yurk is swift, maneuverable, and somewhat arched with alternating short take-offs with frequent flapping of wings and short planning), and on the ground (unlike sparrows, a yurok can move not only in jumps, but also quick step).
In nature, yurki are found both individually and in flocks. As already noted above, such flocks can consist not only of yurks, but also closely related birds - for example, finches, and sometimes sparrows or tits.
But, according to lovers of keeping songbirds, in captivity, the bastard often becomes uninviting and can be aggressive towards other birds - especially when kept in a closed cell space (for the habit of pulling out feathers of a bird-catcher during the fight, they nicknamed the bastard "hairdresser").
The lively, quick-tempered character does not allow the yurk to easily put up with tightness and limited mobility. These birds willingly bathe or arrange their own sand baths.
Wintering hurok bird or migratory? Rather, he does not fly, but he does not make particularly long-distance flights: with the onset of cold weather, the yurks congregate in large flocks and migrate to the southern border of their range and further to the south of Europe, Turkey, Central Asia, China and Korea.
On the southern border of the forest zone, some groups of yurks may linger throughout the winter. Note that the above refers specifically to this yurk. Most birds of the finch family do not exhibit migratory behavior.
By the thin, sharp beak of the yurk it is easy to guess that this bird is predominantly insectivorous. She can also catch prey in the air, sometimes making dizzying maneuvers in pursuit of flying midges, but more often she prefers to feed on the ground or in the bush. A sharp vision allows you to confidently find prey even in thick grass, and well-developed legs - quickly overtake and catch it.
However, eating brisk animal food is not limited. In his diet there are various seeds (including cereal, rapeseed, and even maple and ash), and greens. If possible, the Yurok gladly enjoys sunflower seeds, wheat and rye.
At the same time, he was never listed among birds-pests of agricultural crops: nevertheless, he is focused on insects and other invertebrates, and even purely theoretically, he does less harm to agriculture than good.
Most lovers of songbirds, who kept the yurka in captivity, note his unpretentiousness in nutrition. Without insects, he can do without, if you provide him with a sufficient variety of cereals, nuts and green fodder.
Reproduction and longevity
The breeding season for yurks begins immediately after returning from wintering - in late April - early May. Birds are monogamous for at least a single season; Whether couples formed in spring always remain faithful to each other all their lives, ornithologists have no confidence.
In the mating season, the male yurka acquires a particularly bright color. This is easy to see even with the example of how different the birds look in photographs on the Internet: if Yurok in the photo very beautiful, with contrasting plumage - which means he was photographed in late spring - the first half of summer; if he looks much more faded - this is either a female or a male after the August molt.
Experts note that these birds very carefully choose a place for nesting. Nest of yurk It is always located either in a dense shrub or in the crown of a tree, but in a distance both from the trunk and from the outside of the crown.
Thanks to this predator, it is both difficult to notice and difficult to reach. The distance from the ground is usually from 2 to 5 meters, but in very dense thickets of shrubs the nest may be lower.
The nest has the shape of a basket and curls from the stems of dry grass and moss. As a rule, the female is engaged in construction. She hatches eggs. However, the male is always nearby and is involved in the protection and feeding of the chicks when they are hatched.
In the clutch - from 3 to 6, sometimes up to 7 eggs of bluish-green color with small dots. Hatching lasts about 12 days. Nestling Chicks they hatch covered with down and completely helpless, but they grow very quickly and leave the nest at two weeks of age.
Parents feed them mainly with animal food - small insects, spiders and worms. Young yurks begin a completely independent life at the age of about one month or a little older - by the end of June.
After the first batch of chicks is safely grown, their parents can take up the second - they still have enough time to incubate eggs and raise children. But this does not always happen. More often the female does the second clutch only if the first nest was destroyed by predators or human invasion.
In nature, the life span of a whale, like that of other songbirds, is limited by external factors: many birds, especially young and inexperienced, become prey of predators in the first year of life.
Apparently, on average, wild yurks live 3-5 years, rarely longer. In captivity, spared from natural dangers, with good care, yurks may well live up to 15 years, and according to some reports - even longer. The bird reaches full maturity and flourishing at the age of 2–3 years, although the offspring can bring at the age of one year.
Yurok is one of the real ornaments of avifauna, a harmless, bright and interesting bird in its behavior. It deserves a careful and respectful attitude - especially during the nesting period, because due to its timidity, a bird driven from a nest may no longer return to it.