Family Duck: description and family members
In this article we want to talk aboutrepresentatives of the duck family, which are the largest group among waterfowl. They were the first to be domesticated by man in antiquity. Their importance in agriculture is great to this day.
Duck in our life
The family of Duck has more than 150 species,which, in turn, are divided into forty genera. The predecessors of these birds lived on earth in ancient times. There are many confirmations to this. Archeologists found the remains of a bird (the ancestor of a modern duck), whose age is about 50 million years.
Representatives of the family still play an important rolerole in our lives, because they are kept in households for getting fluff, eggs and meat. Not the best way affects the number of birds with industrial hunting.
The Duck family is not only numerous, but alsoquite diverse. Representatives of the family differ significantly from each other not only in size, but also in color. For example, the weight of birds ranges from 250 grams (dwarf African Goose) and up to twenty kilograms (mute swan). Representatives of the family have a characteristic, dense feather, covered with waterproof grease. This is because the waterfowl of the duck family is almost always in the water.
Birds have a characteristic long and flexible neck,flattened and broad beak, streamlined body with a large supply of subcutaneous fat. And their legs are short, widely spaced, with fingers connected by membranes. All the birds of the family are able to move by land, but at the same time they swim well, and some even dive. Feathered birds fly perfectly and are able to reach speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour.
Habits of family members
Birds of the duck family lead a monogamous imageexistence and have complex social ties. They prefer to nest near water bodies, and sometimes on islands. Females of the nest are lined with down, which is preliminarily plucked from the abdomen. The birds are born sighted, they grow rapidly and actively develop. In a couple of days kids can get their own food. They are fed, as a rule, in the dark. Absolutely all birds are timid in nature, and therefore try to be extremely cautious.
It is believed that some species have perfectly developed sense organs: smell, sight, hearing. Even the beak of the duck has a certain sensitivity.
The Duck family are far from stupid birds. Many of them have a developed mind, like, for example, geese. They transmit the accumulated life experience from one generation to another.
Habitat and feeding of ducks
The Duck family are very numerous and at the same timehas a wide range of habitats. They are distributed practically around the globe (except for Antarctica). Absolutely all varieties moult twice a year: completely in summer and partly in autumn (or in winter).
At full molt birds even lose their abilityto fly. They feed feathered vegetal food: green parts of plants, seeds, radical parts of aquatic plants, shoots. But animal food for them is in second place. The process of feeding takes place both in water and on land. Usually birds do not dive. From the bottom of the reservoirs they take food by plunging their necks into the water, sometimes also the front part of their body.
Ornithologists suggest that once duckThey began to spread across the globe from one of the continents in the Southern Hemisphere. And today they are found all over the world. They are not present only in Antarctica and on some islands in the oceans. Very often it happens that the same species occurs in completely different places, under different conditions of existence (for example, in a tropical and temperate climate).
Scientists believe that a similar phenomenon happensdue to the deviation of migration routes of birds. It simply stray from the way and settles on new lands in small colonies. Over time, they undergo certain changes in color, size, and even cease to lead a migratory way of life.
Virtually all birds of the duck family -waterfowl. And because they live near water bodies, in the coastal zone. And some of them live in the sea. On any water body you can see one of the representatives of this family. And many deliberately live next to a man in gardens and parks.
List of duck species
Duck - a large family, which includes three subfamilies: ducks, geese and semi-glazed geese. In total there are more than 150 varieties. These include:
- The white-headed savage.
- The white-headed dive.
- Great croquet.
- Red-headed duck.
- Bean goose.
- Swan is a screamer.
- The sea-dog.
- Gaga is ordinary.
- Gogol is ordinary.
- Gray duck.
- Grey goose
- Crested duck.
- The teal cassock.
We see how extensive the family of ducks is. The list given by us is far from complete. Only a few species are represented in it. Let us dwell on some of them in more detail.
Gogol (the family of ducks) is a duck duck,which refers to migratory migratory species and is represented by two subspecies inhabiting North America and Eurasia. Birds winter in the south (inclusive to the Mediterranean basin). Very often the feathered winter in Italy.
They nest in the forest areas near the lakes andlarge rivers, and winter along the coast or on fresh water. In May and April, the birds postpone up to 11 eggs, which the female subsequently incubates (within 29 days). The nestlings remain in the nest just a couple of days, and at the age of 8-9 weeks begin to fly. Every year birds make only one masonry. They always gather in small groups, which are kept in life. Gogol flies fast enough, and takes off after a run on the water. The bird feeds on animal food, which it takes underwater, diving for several meters.
Gogol (the family of ducks) has an interestingthe peculiarity of arranging their nests in hollows of trees, burrows of rabbits and artificial canons. The male demonstrates a characteristic marriage behavior. Related species are the Icelandic gogol (nesting in America, Italy and Iceland) and a small lagoon (nesting in Northern Eurasia).
Swan the Swan
A swan-swan is a bird that has its namebecause of the pipe sounds issued in flight. The klikuns are very large birds, their weight can reach ten kilograms. They feed on shallow water, completely submerging the head in the water along with the neck of the neck and the front part of the trunk.
Under the water, birds take out the roots of plants, seeds,catch small invertebrates: larvae, insects and crustaceans. They take off from the water surface heavily because of their impressive weight. Firstly, the birds take a long run, slapping their paws on the water, and then gradually begin to gain altitude. Hibernating winters in the north of the Mediterranean, on the coast of the Caspian Sea, and some of the birds fly to the southeast of Asia.
Swans prefer open spaces: lagoons, lakes, estuaries, and the sea coast. Nests they arrange in wetlands, on islets, peat bogs, in the tundra, on lakes. From the end of May the nesting period begins. Females lay three to five eggs and then they are incubated. Chicks appear in the light after 31-42 days. Autonomously begin to fly young specimens at the age of 11-14 weeks.
To related species can be attributed tundraSwan, which has a more modest size. This northern bird of the duck family nests, as a rule, in the arctic belt of Eurasia, sometimes it can be found in Italy. But the black swan originated from Australia, and it was brought to Europe as a decorative bird.
Who else represents the Duck family? Mandarin - is, perhaps, the most beautiful duck in the world. Speech, of course, is about drake, but the female is also good, but less brightly colored. This kind of duck has a second name - "Chinese duck". For centuries, such birds have decorated imperial water bodies in Japan, Korea and China, and therefore they were called mandarins (mandarin is a major official in Asia). Therefore, the fruits of tangerines have nothing to do with the origin of the name.
The bird is small in size and weighs from 0.5 to0.8 kg. It refers to forest ducks. The length of the individual reaches 40-48 centimeters. Males have very bright nuptial coloring. From the beginning of September to July on the head and neck of drakes, whiskers and a tuft are formed. In color, bright orange notes appear with transitions to violet, green and brown. The beak has a bright red color, and the paws are painted yellow. Males are very beautiful, but females look much more modest, in their colors predominate gray-white and olive-brown shades. Tangerines fly well, and also swim well and even dive. By land, they move fast enough. But their voice is completely different from the usual quack, although they represent a family of ducks. Mandarinka issues a scribbling or a quiet whistle.
These early birds were originally inhabited in the EasternAsia. In Russia, they currently nest in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories, in the Amur and Sakhalin regions. In the northern regions, the mandarins behave like migratory birds. In September, they leave for wintering in China and Japan.
Mandarins have a characteristic feature: they like to live on a tree. Sometimes their hollows are found at six meters high. Such an unusual way of life made ducks learn how to jump from a height without any damage to themselves.
I inhabit mandarin ducks near mountain streams, overwhich hang the trees, and in the forests near the reservoirs. In Russia, this breed because of its scarcity is listed in the Red Book. It hunts such ducks, they are bred in parks and gardens as a decorative breed.
As we have already said, birds prefernesting by the water, giving preference to windbreaks. At the command of the female ducklings dive right out of the hollow and then learn to swim. In the diet of the mandarins is a fish, beetles, snails, plant seeds, acorns and frogs. Ducks are able to climb vertically up in the air, and therefore in oak plantations they easily find themselves food. In addition, the mandarins are fed rice, grass shoots, buckwheat.
Features of the behavior of the mandarin
Twice a year they change their plumage. In June, males drop their beautiful outfit and become like females. Mandarinks return very early from wintering, sometimes at a time when snow has not yet come down. In the mating season between the drakes, hostility arises because of the female.
Ducks lay seven to fourteen eggs. A month later there are nestlings. During the incubation period the females do not leave the nests, they are fed by the male. All summer, both parents are engaged in the upbringing of their offspring, they teach them to swim, fly, protect themselves from predators. Kids can fly at the age of forty days.
In the summer, the mandarins are quite unpretentious andlive well with other birds in any water body, so they are often bred in zoos and dendroparks as a decorative species, providing them with conditions close to natural. But it should be remembered that birds do not tolerate temperatures below five degrees, in winter they can not live on the street.
This genus of ducks contains five species: Patagonian goose, gray-headed Magellan goose, red goose, common Magellanic goose and Andean goose. The habitat of birds - Falkland Islands and South America, Chile, Peru. Patagonian geese have an environmental status. Birds feed on plant foods, preferring to walk on forest edges and glades. Their favorite food are: rhizomes, seeds, shoots, leaves, cereals. In general, this genus is practically no different from other representatives of ducks.
Mallard (the family of ducks) is the largestriver duck. Externally, males are different from females. They have a gray body, chestnut breast and a green head. Marsh mallards live in any water bodies, but they prefer to nest on bumps, on land, less often in hollows, sometimes they can settle far enough from water. Mallard is very common in Europe. The body of the bird has a thick layer of down. The feathers are greased with an oily mixture, secreted by the coccygeal gland, so the duck never gets wet, although it is always in the water.
Mallard have swimming membranes betweenthe toes that help them to swim. Ducks fly perfectly, but overland they move extremely clumsily. The birds feed on insects, amphibians, worms, shoots, plant food. It was these ducks that were first domesticated by ancient people.
Instead of an afterword
As we could see, the Duck family is notonly a very large group of birds, but also quite diverse. Its representatives live around the world, in different parts of the world, but they have incredibly similar signs.