Inhabitant of the northern regions, duck the loon is not only a bird perfectly adapted to the harsh conditions, but also a very beautiful creature. We’ll talk about it.
- Characteristics of the loon
- General description
- Where do they live and winter
- Flight characteristics
- Loon or eider?
- Lives <
- Food <
- Patronage <
- On the species of loon
- Black-throated loon
- Red-throated Loon
- White-necked Loon
- Black-billed Loon
- White-billed Loon
- Interesting about the loons
- Why do they just swim?
- Ancient view
- Instinct for self-preservation
- Hermits <
Characteristics of the loon
Loon, whose name It is clearly consonant with another northern duck eider, is a waterfowl and belongs to a small detachment consisting of five species:
All eider-like are wonderful swimmers, but they also have some differences.
Usually these ducks do not grow more than 70 cm, and their weight does not exceed 6 kg. The body is streamlined, slightly flattened, covered with a high-quality, thick, unusually soft feather. This is the main protection of birds from low temperatures in northern waters, except for the fat layer, of course. A characteristic feature is a neat strip of silver on both wings.
Both sexes look similar:
- white feathers grow on the abdomen;
- the back is either gray with a brown undertones or black with white patches (streaks);
- the head and neck are decorated with a pattern that is specific for each species (young animals have no characteristic patterns in winter).
Webbed feet allow birds to freely swim, and also dive under water
They communicate with each other by screaming or crying. They publish the last when they inform their pack about the upcoming flight. Ducks cry if their lives are in danger. At the same time, a piercing scream is heard, although this rarely happens.
Where they live and winter
The northern expanses are the home of the loons for ducks. Mostly it is North Africa and the territory of Eurasia with a cold climate: mountains, tundra, forests, etc. But there should always be nearby ponds, vast and cold, with rocky shores, and the territory itself should be clean.
At a time when the water freezes, ducks can not hunt, and therefore live, so they go in search of another place. Wintering in ducks takes place on the coasts near the Pacific Ocean and on the seas: White, Baltic, Black. Then they like to return to their so-called familiar places.
Climbing the water surface for loons is not difficult: they rise high and fly more often only in a straight line.Sharp movements in the form of turns, etc. they are not peculiar. If they need to hide, they will not dodge, but rush under the water.
The flight of the flock seems a bit chaotic: there is no main duck, there is no formation, each individual is kept separate from the rest.
Loon or eider?
So, after all, a loon or eider? The pronunciation, of course, seems to be misleading, but the eider is a completely different bird from the Anseriformes order. Outwardly, these representatives are completely different, which is easily noticeable even in the photo, at least in life. Gaga is known for its valuable fluff, and loon for skins.
There are lagoons in packs . Moreover, each member is always on the watchman to instantly recognize the danger.
They are not suitable as poultry, they do not establish contact with people.
Since most of their lives the loons spend on rivers, lakes, etc., their food consists mainly of water inhabitants: small fish, worms, insects, mollusks, crustaceans, etc. Sometimes these are plants and seeds.
Diving into the water, the duck obtains its own food. She has a rather strong beak, squeezing which, she easily kills fish.
Like many ducks, the loons are monogamous in relationships. A pair is created once and for all. Together, flights and hatching are carried out.
Puberty with readiness for fertilization in them occurs later than in other ducks. Somewhere at the age of 3, the individual begins to search for a pair for breeding.
Bird nests are located along the banks, overgrown with grass. The female and the male dig grooves leading from the shore to the water: it is easier for them to get to the reservoir, eat and return back to the nest.
The number of laid eggs usually does not exceed 2, 3 is very rare. The difference between the clutches can be about 7 days. Hatching is the task of both ducks: both “mothers” and “dads”. This process takes about one month.
The chick appears in the light, covered with dark fur. He is able to swim and even dive almost immediately, and his first flights fall in the second month of his life.
In the first weeks after hatching, the parents take care of their babies, guard them, and get worms and insects.
About the types of loon
Let’s start with the most common black-throated loon, which lives in subarctic and arctic Europe, Asia and somewhere in Alaska, mainly in the tundra and forest
In length they grow up to 58-75 cm, in weight gain from 1800 to 3500 kg. Underwater can withstand about 2 minutes, and the depth of their dive is 50 m.
The black-throated duck nests in the mountains at an altitude of up to 2300 m above sea level. The male black throat loon takes responsibility for its creation.
Perhaps the most beautiful lover among the loons is the red-throated duck. The pink strip on her neck resembles a collar and is her characteristic feature. The birds are very small: up to 69 cm in length and up to 2.5 kg in weight.
They live in Asia, Europe, North America, in the fall they fly south to China, Florida, California.
Red-throated – very interesting swimmers, swim on their sides, on their backs, dive deep and for a long time (for a minute and a half, 2-9 m and deeper). However, they fly beautifully. Of the whole species, the red-throated is the only one who flies away from danger, and does not swim away, and then easily lands on hard ground.
Adult white-necked loons are similar in appearance with chernozems in the summer, but the upper part of the neck and back of their head is light.
They live in Northeast Asia and North America. They tend to migrate in schools.
Black-billed is a rather large duck, sometimes reaching 91 cm in length and 6.3 kg in weight. Maturity begins as early as 2 years.
Habitat – North America, Iceland, Newfoundland, Jan Mayen, Bear and others.
When hunting for fish, it is able to dive to a depth of 60 m. It catches pike, perches, trout, herring, and flounder.
Among the loons it is the largest duck weighing up to 6.4 kg and up to 1 m in length.
The white-billed species is distributed north of the Eurasian coast, on the Arctic shores. Her way of life is no different from her relatives, except that she is the most quiet and cautious. For example, he sleeps only if he is in the middle of a lake (rivers, etc.). Their offspring hatch longer than others.
Interesting about the loons
Why do they just swim?
Such a loyal love of water at the loons is explained very simply. They are practically unable to move on land. To overcome a strip of land, ducks crawl along it, pushing off their paws and wings.
For the same reason, they do not sit on the ground, preferring the water surface, otherwise they may break their legs or even break. It is also inconvenient for them to take off from the ground, this is not facilitated by the structure of the membranes on their paws.
The loons appeared even during dinosaurs, or rather, at the sunset of their era. Excavations are evidence of this.
Despite the average life expectancy of 20 years, due to constant hunting, some species (black-throated, white-blooded) are listed in the Red Book .
They are killed to get the skin, but their meat is not in demand. Once upon a time, hats for women were made from their fur.
When the brood hen feels a threat, she carefully crawls along a dug trench into a reservoir beforehand, after which emits deafening screams, flapping wings on the water. All these actions attract the male’s attention or scare away the enemy.
It happens that only 1 pair settles on one pond, while others look for a place for themselves away. The white-necked loon is the most hospitable among all, it allows you to be located 50-100 meters from yourself.