Many have not even heard of such a small bird as linnet. And she has an outstanding singing talent, the linnet composes melodic roulades that caress the ear, in which one can distinguish a trill similar to a nightingale, and the sonorous song of a lark, and the chirping of a titmouse. Let's try to find out in more detail about the nature of this bird, its places of permanent residence, habits and, of course, external features and features.
View origin and description
Linnet is also called repolovom, it is a small songbird belonging to the order of passerines, the family of finches and the genus of carduelis. This family is one of the most common and numerous among songbirds. Basically, most of its members are small or medium in size. The detachment of passeriformes can also be called the most numerous, because. it has more than five thousand bird species.
Linnet got its name because it often eats the seeds of this plant. The repolov bird was nicknamed for the same reason, because in its diet there are also burdock seeds. Linnet is very miniature, the length of its body ranges from 13 to 16 cm. In mature individuals, the wingspan can reach from 23 to 26 cm, and the weight of the bird is about 22 grams. Among passerines, this bird can be considered a real inch.
It should be noted that males of linnet are distinguished from females by the color of their plumage. In males, it is much brighter and more extravagant during the mating season. The color of their costume has a reddish tint, which is not observed in females. Apparently, the brightness of males is necessary to attract female attention during the wedding bird season, because the gentleman is obliged to make an indelible positive impression on the lady.
The closest relatives of linnets are:
- spruce crossbills;
- canary finches.
There is a conditional division of linnet into three subspecies, ornithologists distinguish:
- ordinary linnet, characterized by all typical external features that will be described in detail below;
- Turkestan linnet, which distinguishes bright brown back, red shades of males are much richer and more extensively distributed throughout the body, going into the abdomen and sides. Turkmen repolov can be called the largest;
- Crimean linnet, which differs from the first in a wide white border of the wings and brighter red patches in males.
Appearance and features
The dimensions of the linnet have already been described, but it is worth understanding the color of its plumage in more detail, because it is in it that sexual dimorphism is manifested. Males have a more elegant and catchy costume than females. For males, the presence of a reddish-burgundy plumage on the chest and head is characteristic. The abdominal area has a light tone, and the dorsal part of the bird is brownish.
The wings and tail are lined with narrow white and wide black stripes, the same color is typical for the bird's tail. Females and young look more faded and ordinary, they have no red color in their plumage. The back has a grayish-brown tone. The area of the chest and abdomen is of a light shade with characteristic brown mottles, which have a longitudinal arrangement.
An interesting fact: Ornithologists have noticed that the older the linnet, the richer and brighter its caftan (basically, this concerns males).
The beak of the linnet is not long and thickened at the base, has the shape of a cone and is gray in color. The limbs of the bird are extended, equipped with refined tenacious fingers with sharp claws. The legs are brownish in color. Repolov has an elongated and pointed shape of wings, each of which has a pair of flight feathers. The length of the wing does not exceed 8 cm. The tail of the bird is also elongated, the notch on it is weakly expressed, and the length is about 4 cm. >
Where does linnet live?
Depending on belonging to one or another subspecies, the distribution area of linnets varies. Common linnet can be found in almost the entire space of the former USSR, in Europe (mainly in the western part), in the Scandinavian countries. In our country, these birds inhabit its western regions. The eastern border of the settlement area passes through the territory of the Tyumen region. Small populations of these songbirds are found in the Right Bank of the Volga near Kamyshin and Dubovka.
You will not see the Crimean linnet anywhere except the Crimean peninsula, this subspecies is endemic. Linnet Turkestan inhabited Iran, Afghanistan, the Trans-Caspian Territory, Turkestan, India. In the Caucasus, these birds take a fancy to the mountains and foothills of Central Asia, nesting on rocky slopes. Numerous populations have been observed in the Tien Shan mountains, near Dzhambul, and are also found in the mountainous area in northern Tajikistan.
An interesting fact: Turkestan repols do not settle outside the foothills in winter, because nomadic flocks of common linnet fly there for the winter.
Linnets do not shy away from cultural landscapes, settling on hedges, household plots, gardens, and in forest belts along roads. These birds do not like dense forest thickets. But they like a small shrub growth on the edge of a forest or along the edge of a meadow. The Turkestan subspecies likes dry, mountainous, rocky, steppe landscapes, where thorny shrubs (meadowsweet, astragalus, barberry, juniper) grow. It should be noted that migratory linnet flock to the African continent, the coast of the Aral Sea, Iran and the regions of the Caspian region for the winter.
Now you know where the linnet bird lives. Let's see what he eats.
What does Linnet eat?
Linnet menu, for the most part, it has a plant composition. This little bird can be called a granivorous, because. she gladly eats grains and seeds of various plants. Such a diet allows many linnets to be sedentary, because they can do without insects, which cannot be found in winter.
Birds feed on:
- sunflower, poppy and hemp seeds;
- horse sorrel;
Still, in addition to grains and herbs, all kinds of insects are present in the diet of repolov, with which birds replenish the supply of protein in the body. Of course, such food is significantly inferior in quantity to food of plant origin. Caring parents also feed small newborn chicks with various small insects, their larvae and shelled seeds. On protein food, children grow rapidly, gaining weight.
It should be noted that linnets are eaten quite often, because they spend a huge amount of energy, because. very mobile and small. The forces of linnets are wasted at lightning speed, so they need to be constantly reinforced. For a bird, a critical situation occurs if she has not eaten anything for an hour. As already noted, there are special grooves or ribs on the palate of the linnet that help the bird to grind hard grains and seeds.
Character and lifestyle features
Linnets living in areas with a warm climate are considered sedentary, they always remain in inhabited places or move short distances. From the more northern regions, these birds rush to warmer climes for wintering. During distant migrations, and even in everyday life, these birds cluster in small flocks, numbering from 20 to 30 winged individuals. Usually, their companies are very noisy, they move, hiding in high grass and various bushes.
Linnets return from wintering places in early spring – in March, immediately starting the period of active nesting, singing their roulades. The song of the linnet is very melodic, you can distinguish in it iridescent trills, and whistling, and light chirping, and crackling, all these creative elements follow one after another in a varied order.
Interesting fact : Male repolovs are noticed, namely, in collective singing, they do not like to sing one at a time. Several bird individuals located close to each other start their tunes at once.
During the chants, the males can soar up, without stopping their trills, after making several circles, they again sit on the same branch. It can be seen that when performing, the birds raise their red crest and turn the body slightly from side to side. Songs are sung right up to the departure to the southern regions, but they are most expressive before the start of nesting. Linnets fly away either at the end of September or in October.
If you describe the nature of linnets, then they can be called very cautious and shy birds. This is not surprising, because they are very small, and they have plenty of enemies. These birds are very difficult to tame. they are fearful and do not want to make contact with humans, although they often live in cultivated landscapes.
Social structure and reproduction
Pair formation in linnet occurs at the beginning of April. During this period, males sing intensely, raising their bright crest, so they lure partners. Each educated couple has its own territory, although it is small, so the feathered neighbors are very close. Linnets take a fancy to dense and thorny shrubs, the lower tiers of branches of fruit trees, lonely spruces, pines and juniper bushes located in meadows or forest edges, clearings.
The nest is located at a height of 1 to 3 meters, it is very strong and durable. External nesting walls are woven from dry stems and grasses, roots, reinforced with cobwebs and moss. From the inside, the bed is insulated with feathers, animal hair, horse hair. The nest does not exceed six centimeters in diameter, and its depth is about 4 cm. During the year, the bird manages to make a couple of clutches. The first one is in May, and the second one is in July.
The clutch contains from 4 to 6 eggs, which have a greenish-blue faded tint. Burgundy and purple specks and dashes are visible on the shell, forming something like a whisk at the blunt end of the egg. Hatching is carried out exclusively by the female. The incubation process lasts approximately two weeks. The chicks stay in the nest for the same duration. At birth, the babies are covered with a rather long and thick fluff, which has a dark gray tint.
When the babies begin to make their first flights, a caring father feeds them for a few more days. The female during this period is preoccupied with arranging a nest for the next masonry. The second brood of birds leaves the parental nest at the end of July. Already at the end of August, birds gather in flocks, starting to prepare for departure. It is worth adding that under natural conditions linnet live for about nine years, in captivity they can live a couple of years longer, but it is not easy to tame them.
Linnet natural enemies
It is not surprising that linnet has many enemies in natural conditions, because it is very small, shy and harmless. Linnets living within the boundaries of cities and other human settlements often suffer from ordinary cats that hunt them. The danger of these little birds lies in wait for other predators, including birds, who are not averse to eating these birds. Of course, inexperienced young animals are the most vulnerable. In general, repolovs are saved by their mobility, dexterity and agility, so not every predator is able to catch such a nimble bird, for this it is worth trying hard. Do not forget about the excessive timidity and caution of linnet, which all the time try to be on the alert.
The enemies of linnet can also include a person who affects birds, both directly and indirectly. In the first case, many are catching these birds in order to keep them in captivity, which does not have a very favorable effect on their life, because the birds are reluctant to make contact and do not like to settle in cages, but they like large aviaries much more.
An interesting fact: Linnets living in enclosures actively breed and can successfully interbreed with greenfinches, goldfinches and canaries. economic activity of people, displacing birds from their permanent habitats and damaging the ecological situation in general.
Population and species status
The situation with the number of linnet is not favorable everywhere. In some of its habitats, the number of birds has dropped dramatically, which causes concern among conservation organizations. The population of these songbirds is very small in the regions located near the extreme northern limits of bird distribution, the number of birds has become much smaller in the southeast of the European territory of the former USSR.
There is disappointing evidence that in recent years the number of these passerines has declined sharply, falling by more than 60 percent. Ornithologists managed to find out the main reason for such a deplorable situation. They believe that pesticides used to irrigate fields kill a huge number of birds that eat processed seeds and grains, which leads to poisoning and death.
People affect the bird population by invading the places of permanent deployment of birds , destroying the ecosystem of natural biotopes, occupying the territories of bird settlement for their own economic needs, thereby forcing the birds to look for new places for permanent residence. All this causes enormous damage to the number of linnets, the number of which continues to fall to this day, so they need special protective measures.
Many negative factors have affected the number of hemp, which has greatly decreased. Although the distribution area of u200bu200bthese small birds is very extensive, in some regions their number has significantly decreased. As already noted, negative statistics indicate that over the past forty years the number of birds has decreased by 62 percent, which is very upsetting and alarming.
The main scourge that destroys birds is the treatment of fields from weeds with various chemical reagents. Since these birds feed mainly on weed seeds, they die as a result of poisoning with toxic substances. There are a number of other negative anthropogenic factors affecting the vital activity of repolov, but poisoning with poisons is considered the most paramount of them and the most dangerous.
All this series of negative impacts and the observation of a decline in the population of these little birds, which continues to progress and until now, led to the fact that in some countries linnet was listed in the Red Book. Where the linnet is protected, the territories of resettlement of a sufficient number of birds are included in the reserve. It is sad to realize that many human actions have negative consequences that affect the lives of tiny and harmless birds. It remains to be hoped that protective measures will stabilize the population of linnet, reducing its decline.
In conclusion, I would like to note that such an amazing and miniature linnet impresses not only with its excellent and melodic singing, but also with the love of freedom inherent in this crumb, who will never exchange a free existence for a cage, even if it is golden.