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Squacco Heron

Ardeola ralloides (Scopoli, 1769)

Желтая цапля | Сары құтан

2009-06-19
Delta of Ural river
© Victoria Kovshar

Description

Head and neck of Squacco Heron are yellow passed to bright-buff on under-neck, on craw, and on breast-flanks. Throat is white passed to buffy-yellow on neck. On head there is crest from extended feathers, longest of which are with blackish strips along borders and with narrow white edges. Mantle and decor feathers are dark-buffy. Wings, uppertail, tail and all underparts beginning from craw are white. Upperwing coverts, median-belly have yellow tinge. Female is distinguished from male by less size and by less expressed dйcor feathers. Eye-skin are green, bill is grey-blue darkened in tip. Legs are meat-color with yellow soles and black claws. Eyes are pale-yellow. Winter plumage is without decor feathers. Juveniles are similar on winter adults and are distinguished by longitudinal strips on mantle and by yellow bill. Sizes: wing 206-234, tail 78-85, tarsus 59-63, bill 60-68 mm.

Distribution

Squacco Heron nests on the Kazakhstan part of Volga river delta, on Ural river delta and on its lower reaches in north from Atyrau, earlier it occupied lower reaches of Syrdarya river. Vagrant birds observed on Gorkaya river in Volga-Ural area (24-25 May 1984), on Aksuat lake in Naurzum Reserve (29-30 May 1980), near lower reaches of Temir river (26 July 1966), at mouth of Irgiz river (20 July 1971) and two birds on Sorbulak lake close to Almaty (30 May 1982).

Biology

Squracco Heron is rare breeding migrant. It inhabits rivers, river channels and coast of Caspian Sea; with trees, bushes, reed-beds; near shallow water. In spring Squracco Heron appears in end March - early April in flocks up to 100 birds. Breeding begins in early-mid May. It nests in colonies (up to 150-170 pairs), usually together with other representatives of Ardeidae family. Nests is built in trees and bushes at 5-10 m above ground, from thin twigs; also Squacco Heron nests in reed beds, in this case it build nest from reed stems and leaves. Nest is built by both partners. On some trees there are 10-15 nests at distance 0.5 m or more one from another. Clutches of 4-5, sometimes of 6 eggs, founded in mid-end May. Chicks hatch after 20-21 days. Both parents feed juveniles, which begin to fly at age 17-20 days old. Autumn migration passes early, in lower Ural river latest birds were observed at August 30 1975 and October 11 1974.

References

"Птицы Казахстана" том 1. "Наука". Алма-Ата, 1960.
Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999.
Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005.

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