Ivan Nikitin wrote: — “Bel is like a lun, with wrinkles on his forehead, with a drunk face, he saw a lot of hardships for the rest of his life.” Comparing the hero with the steppe bird, a 19th-century Russian poet meant that the man was gray.
White moon can not be called. The back of the feathered and the top of the wings are gray. However, there is a «gray», and the general tone is not dark. The belly and neck of the animal are completely white. A close relative of the field luna has a few shades of darker color. There are meadow individuals. Those have red feathers.
Description and features of the steppe moon
In the 19th century, the steppe harrier was common. Therefore, the association with the bird came to the mind of Ivan Nikitin. In the 21st century, such a comparison would probably be written only by a poet-ornithologist, who has the Red Book at hand. Steppe harrier in it is listed as disappearing.
Yastrebiny was included both in the all-Russian edition and in a number of regional ones. In particular, the hero of the article is included in the list of rare animals of the Krasnodar Territory.
In the 1930s, the steppe species was noted as typical throughout the entire western Caucasus. By the 1990s, the moon meetings were sporadic. The animal leads a secretive lifestyle. The whole of Russia has a maximum of 5,000 pairs. In the entire southern region there are no more than 100. Globally, there are about 20,000 pairs of loes.
Referring to the hawks, harriers are middling in size. The body length of the male is 435-480 centimeters, and females 480-525. As can be seen, sexual dimorphism is developed in birds of the species. Females are larger than males. The wingspan of the latter does not exceed 110 centimeters. In females, the index often approaches 120.
Like other hawks, the moon has a hooked beak, strong legs with feather pants up to the knee folds. The body of the bird is slim. Other hawks more dense. Even the moon is distinguished from them narrow wings. In flight, the hero of the article can be confused with a seagull
Lifestyle & Habitat
The length of distribution across Russia comes from the western borders to Mongolia. It is adjacent to the southwest of Transbaikalia. To the East birds reach the Yenisei. Meet the feathered and west of the Ural Mountains. The description of the steppe moon is given by the inhabitants of the Minusinsk depression at the junction of the Krasnoyarsk Territory and Khakassia.
On the southwestern borders of the country, looni chose the Crimea, the northern coast of the Black Sea, and Transcaucasia. Here, as in other habitats, hawks choose arid steppes for living.
Love for them is reflected in the name of the species. However, there are exceptions. In the Stavropol region, for example, a bird is found in the Podgorny and Andropov districts. They are swamped.
Exceptions are in terms of behavior of birds. Being secretive, the bird of the prairie lun often attacks kittens, domestic pigeons, and carrion-carrying birds into the yards in cages. However, such hooliganism can be explained by the lack of food supply of the moon.
Due to human activity, hawk-like habitats are becoming smaller. Reduced and feed base.
Steppe harrier in the photo is always in the sky, or on the ground. The hero of the article does not have the habit of planting trees, even when, as an exception, he settles in the forest-steppe zone.
In the sky lun, like all hawkish, graceful, unhurried. The flight of the bird is slightly rocking. The exception is the spring period. This is a breeding time. Marital dance is a series of sharp rises to a height and rapid peak. Females also make «jumps», but less pronounced.
Having raised offspring, steppe birds fly south. Most migrate to Africa. They return to Russia in early spring as soon as the glades appear. This is where marriage games begin.
Eating the steppe moon
Steppe harrier is a predator. With devotion to meat associated deviations of birds from the usual habitat. Birds can climb into the woods or the swamps, if there are more rodents. They — the basis of the food supply moon.
If you understand what the steppe harrier feeds on in particular, voles, gerbils, jerboas are recalled. All of them are pests of agricultural land. It turns out that harrier is an assistant to farmers.
The hero of the article hunts in the afternoon. Small prey easier to look out in the fields in the light of the sun. Sometimes, instead of rodents, the predator catches lizards. In flight, a harrier can seize small birds. So saturated.
Seeing the prey, the steppe harrier is swooping rapidly, pulling the paws forward. They bird grabs the victim in the grass. Paws of the hero of the article are long. It helps to get food even in high vegetation. Before the earth, the harrier disperses its tail. They predator brakes after a speed dive.
Hunting grounds are distributed between birds. Each moon has its own patrimony. By area, it is small. A certain route has been laid. Flying over the land, the predator follows it. Therefore, to see the moon, as a rule, can be in the same places.
Reproduction and longevity
Not loving to sit on trees, the steppe lun and does not build nests on them. Eggs hatch on the ground, in its hollows, between stones, sometimes in reeds. There are no nests in the usual sense. Eggs are laid in a pit lined with grass around the perimeter.
The eggs of the female luney are laid from 3 to 7. Standard — 5 pieces. They hatch 30-35 days. The same amount goes to raising chicks on the wing. One and a half months after the birth, they are ready to fly for the winter to warm countries.
Hatching and raising chicks, steppe loons are aggressive. Hawks attack any enemies, regardless of their mood, size. Representatives of the steppe species are not inclined to throw their clutches, saving their own «skins».
By the age of 3, the bird of prey is ready to breed. Reproductive age ends at 17-18 years. They live steppe lunis 20-22 years. In captivity, hawks can extend their age to 25 years.