A bird originally from Dauria: a young of rare cranes was born in the Moscow Zoo

July 14
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The Daurian crane young hatched at the Reproduction of Rare Animal Species Center of the Moscow Zoo near Volokolamsk. This species is listed in the International Red Book and in the Red Book of Russia. According to ornithologists, there are only about six and a half thousand Daurian cranes in the wild, of which about 600 individuals nest on the territory of our country.

"Since the species is under threat of extinction, it was included in the Conservation of Cranes of Eurasia international program. As part of this program, our Reproduction Center received the first pair of Daurian cranes in 2002. They annually brought offspring and five youngs went to other zoos. Last year, a new pair of rare cranes arrived at the Center, they quickly got used to the aviary and soon after moving, they brought out nestlings. This year, the birds became parents for the second time. Since autumn, ornithologists will prepare the baby for reintroduction to its natural habitat, where it will be able to help restore the wild population," Svetlana Akulova, General Director of the Moscow Zoo, said.

So far, the nestling covered with white-red feathers only vaguely resembles its parents. Gradually, it will change its plumage to a darker one, and by the age of two years it will have a white-gray color, as with adults. The crane already eats the same food as its parents. The diet of birds in the zoo includes smelt and herring, insect larvae and locusts, chicken eggs, sprouted wheat, grated carrots and special compound feed.

The cranes family lives in a spacious aviary, on the territory of which there is a grove. In addition, in the possession of cranes there is a small ravine, which becomes bogged up in spring. In this ravine, a male and a female have built a nest.

You can admire the nestling by watching a short video on mos.ru. In the future, videos about its life will be posted on the pages of the Moscow Zoo in social networks.

In nature, Daurian cranes can be found in East Asia. Their homeland is the historical and geographical region of Dauria, which includes the territories of modern Buryatia, the Trans-Baikal Territory and the Amur Region, north-eastern Mongolia and north-eastern China. Rare birds live in the basins of the Agutsa and Onon rivers, in the Khingan Reserve, as well as along the shores of Lake Khanka, the Amur and Ussuri rivers, in winter they migrate to the Korean Peninsula, to Japan and to eastern China. Birds settle in wet swampy meadows, in the valleys of reservoirs and rock-basin lakes.

The wild crane population reduced sharply in the 20th century. This is because of the destruction of their natural habitat, as well as the fighting that took place in the areas of their nesting during the Great Patriotic War and the Korean War.

Daurian cranes are large birds, their body height reaches one and a half to two meters, weight - five and a half kilograms. They are mostly covered with dark gray plumage, the flight feathers and wing coverts are silvery, wide white stripes run along the necks. The skin around the eyes is naked, has a bright red hue. Representatives of the Daurian species are the only ones from the crane genus that have pink legs.

Birds live in pairs and gather in flocks only during the migration season. They are monogamous - they are faithful to their partner throughout their life. The creation of a pair is accompanied by a special ritual: when a male and a female find each other, they throw their heads back and start singing, making complex melodic sounds. The female keeps her wings folded, and the male, on the contrary, spreads them. As a rule, the ‘spouses’ use the same nest for several years in a row, completing and strengthening it upon arrival from wintering. They also build a spare ‘nursery’ for their offspring, but they store the egg laying only in one of the nests.

Daurian cranes are omnivorous, the basis of their diet consists of rhizomes and shoots of aquatic plants, and birds also hunt insects, fish, frogs and lizards. In search of food, they can also make a visit to farms - wheat, rice, soy or corn fields.

Like representatives of other crane species, the Daurian cranes are long-lived. In nature, they live for about 30 years, in captivity they often live past 50 years of age.

This summer, a chick of another rare crane - Asiatic white crane hatched at the Reproduction of Rare Animal Species Center. They are endemic of the northern regions of our country (they live in certain places). According to zoologists, there are only about three thousand individuals in the wild. The little Asiatic white crane will be prepared for reintroduction into the natural habitat.

Source: mos.ru

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