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Little Bustard

Tetrax tetrax (Linnaeus, 1758)

Стрепет | Безгелдек
breeding male

2015-06-09
Turgen river. Almaty oblast.
© Ivan Bevza

Distribution

Breeds mostly in flat and hilly steppes and semi-deserts of northern part of Kazakhstan, in south to Kamysh-Samar lakes, mouths of Ural and Emba rivers, Baykonur, Karsakpay, Ayaguz, Zaysan lake, and also on foothills of Southern Altai, Tarbagatay, Dzhungarskiy Alatau and Western Tien Shan (Karatau ridge). On migration occurs on Mangyshlak and in Southern Kazakhstan. Vagrants observed on Markakol lake 10 May 1979 and 17-18 May 1983.

Biology

Rare breeding migrant. Inhabits the virgin feather-grass steppes with dense grass and rare shrubs, or the wormwood–feather-grass areas in the lake depressions in deserts and foothills. Appears in March on southern regions or in April on northern ones, by small flocks. Males display on mating site particularly active in morning and evening, females gather around males. Nest is built on ground in very shallow hole barely lined by dry grass, and usually carefully camouflaged by the surrounding tall grass. Clutch of 3-11, usually 3-5 eggs is laid in May – June. Only female incubates clutch for 28-30 days. Participation of male in care for offspring is unknown. Chicks hatch in end of May – June. Some researchers observed broods with both parents, but others with female only. Sometimes clutches are destroyed by wolves, red foxes, corsac foxes, badgers and steppe polecats. Re-nesting is unknown. Males display up to early-mid July. In second half of August as soon as broods join in flocks sometimes numbering up to several hundreds birds the autumn migration begins. Most of birds migrate in September – October. In northern areas Little Bustards disappear in October, in southern ones in first ten days of November. On Chokpak Pass three flocks of 90, 49 and 11 birds observed 28 October 2001.

References

В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург, Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000. Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999.

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