The carrier is a cute and small bird from the snipe family. In truth, there are no large birds in this family at all. Each of us can meet a carrier on the territory of Russia. It lives both in captivity and nests in its natural habitat. The carrier is a completely ordinary representative of birds, which at first glance does not have its own characteristics. This assumption is erroneous, and to refute it, let’s talk more about such a bird as a carrier.
The origin of the species and description
Researchers and ornithologists suggest that the bird was first seen on the territory of Eurasia, that is, in its natural habitat. Until now, there may sometimes be disputes among scientists about the country in which it was discovered. Some believe that it was Russia, others still refer to European countries, and still others generally say that they saw it during migration to warm countries, and specifically in Africa.
In general, if we talk about the snipe family, then in it the carrier is a medium-sized bird. The feathered one has short legs, a long neck and a beak of medium parameters. It is interesting to note that the carrier’s tail is very different in size from other birds. It is so small that it is even shorter than the wings. Females of this species are 25%-30% larger than males.
Male individuals weigh approximately 45-50 grams. Can you imagine how little that is? If suddenly they put it on your hand, then most likely you won’t be able to feel anything at all, because this is an insignificant weight for a person. The body length of males is about 20 centimeters, and their wingspan is from 35 to 40 centimeters.
Appearance and features
In general, all birds of the snipe family have similar external parameters, however, like all of them, the carrier has its own characteristics. Birds change their plumage 2 times a year. In warm times, they have a brownish-gray plumage with small patterns in the form of transverse streaks. The back is colored brown-orange, which can be seen if the bird is somewhere nearby. White feathers are located on the abdomen, and dark mottles are present on the neck. The tail of the carrier is rounded. There are white stripes along its edges. The beak of the carrier has a dark brown color. At the base it becomes lighter. The iris is white and the legs are sandy gray.
In cold seasons, the carrier takes on a more faded plumage than in summer. All the features that we noted in the plumage of the carrier in the warm season remain with it, however, they have less clear details.
Juveniles have a predominantly grayish-brown plumage with an olive tint. They have a pattern on their back that can be seen even from a great distance. It consists of buffy edges and dark preapical stripes on the feathers of the back and wings. The abdomen is similar in its plumage to an adult during wintering.
Where does the carrier live?
The carrier has a huge geographic distribution. In captivity, this bird can be found in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. In the last 2, the carrier lives only during migration. If we list all the countries where this bird can be found, then you will most likely get bored reading this. In Russia, a bird can nest in absolutely any part of the state, except for the Arctic Ocean and tundra zones. The most common carrier wintering area is Africa. There, birds are usually located along the Nile Valley and along the rivers that are slightly south of the Sahara.
Now let’s talk about the habitat of the carrier. First of all, this is a species that will nest exclusively near water. This is one of the main conditions for the residence of the carrier. The bird can be found on the banks of various rivers and streams. Also, the natural habitat of this species includes lakes and swamps. The carrier can also be found in the territory of the deciduous forest, however, as we have already said, there will most likely be some kind of reservoir nearby.
What does the carrier eat?
The carrier mainly feeds on animals that are close to its habitat. It often prefers invertebrates as its food, which includes various crustaceans and molluscs. From time to time, the bird also does not mind tasting insects. She usually chooses between grasshoppers, midges, crickets, caterpillars, beetles, spiders and earthworms. Ornithologists have found that of the above, beetles and mosquito larvae usually predominate.
During wintering, it can afford to eat small mollusks that live in the rivers of Africa and Australia. The fact is that in countries with a hot climate, insects, of course, differ from European ones. It will be a great miracle for the carrier if he meets a worm or crustacean in arid areas.
The carrier picks up food from the surface of the water or on the ground near the reservoir. This bird also has the ability to catch flying insects.
Character and lifestyle features
The carrier throughout its life shows its activity mainly in the daytime. A representative of birds can afford a little sleep throughout the day. The bird can rest on small hills, such as stumps, stones, logs. The main condition is that the area in the area should be easily visible.
The main activity of carriers is self-care and food search. This bird can do all day what to look for insects, preen and swim in the water. From birds of prey, the carrier can try to escape by diving into the water.
Interesting fact:the carrier’s tail is in constant motion. It moves up and down. Scientists have not yet established what this phenomenon is connected with.
Birds lead a solitary lifestyle, not counting reproduction. In interspecies conflicts, carriers peck each other, beat with their paws, climb onto their backs. During the rains, nesting becomes territorial.
Social Structure and Reproduction
During the breeding season, which lasts as much as 4 months from May to August, carriers prefer to settle in areas near water bodies. The current of the male is an unusual trill in the air. Birds settle in shallow water on sandy or pebbly shores. The habitat preference is also coastal vegetation, in which the ferriers hide their nest and also use it as a lining material. This makes it easier for birds to hide from enemies.
The nest is a hole or depression in the ground. Sometimes it can be seen not only in the thickets, but also near the lying tree, which are not so close to the water. The clutch usually contains 4 eggs 3.5 cm in size. Their color varies from greenish-white to ocher-white. Egg patterns are spots with dark gray main and reddish-brown surface spots.
Incubation takes place in turn, the female and male equally take part in this. Parents at these moments are very careful, cautious, trying not to draw attention to themselves. If suddenly they feel danger, they immediately leave the nest. Hatched chicks receive upbringing and care most often from both parents. Three weeks later, the babies make their first flight, and the carriers begin to migrate to the south.
Natural enemies of the carrier
The carrier, like other small birds, has its own natural enemies. Adults from time to time can suffer from unexpected attacks by weasels and other predators who love to feast on birds.
The eggs and small chicks of this species are often preyed upon by owls and mice. Note that the carrier chick is also an excellent delicacy for other large birds of prey. Namely, in connection with this, the species we are considering is trying in every possible way to hide its nest, where masonry or small chicks may be located.
A person with a rapidly developing infrastructure is also one of the enemies of the carrier. Due to our latest technologies and developments, the environment may be the first to suffer.
Population and species status
If we talk about the population of carriers, then their number at the moment has more than 250,000 adults who have reached puberty. The status of the species can be found in the International Red Data Book, where it is clearly named as a species of “least concern”. However, this does not mean that the carriers are doing the best. As with most animals, they are hindered by humans. And every year, if you do not take care of maintaining the population of this species, the negative impact of humans on carriers will increase. More specifically, the development of infrastructure is to blame: the construction of cities, power lines, and the like. If the population grows and is actively built up, then poor birds will not have a place to nest.
Pesticides that are used in agriculture against pests also harm birds. And, of course, this unusual bird is hunted with pleasure. If these threats prevail and continue to develop, then we will bring the species to extinction. Therefore, it is important to take care and not make mistakes that will sadly affect these interesting birds in the future.
The carrier is a small cute bird that lives on the territory of our country. In general, her affairs in nature are going well. The population of this species is increasing every year, but we must not relax and let go of the environment. It is important for the carrier and other birds that everything goes its natural course. Let’s take care of animals that perform an irreplaceable function in our lives.