Swan migratory bird or not? The question at first glance may seem strange and childish. The image of swan flocks flying away to distant lands for the winter is captured on many picturesque canvases.
They belong to the genus of swans, which, like geese, is part of the order of Anseriformes, and all together are in the family of ducks
What types of swans are there?
The taxonomic position of swans is simple. They belong to the genus of swans, which, like geese, is part of the order of Anseriformes, and all together are in the family of ducks.
This genus includes 7 species: black, black-necked, mute, trumpeter, American, small, whooper.
The fact is that not all swans fly away for the winter, and even more so to distant lands. Their seasonal rhythms of life depend on the climate, as well as on the availability of food supply at the place of residence.
Why are some birds migratory and others not? This question is still easy to answer - in winter, swans, ducks, geese and other waterfowl fly to where the ponds do not freeze. It is for this reason that some birds, having discovered an ice-free reservoir along the path of their movement, do not fly south, but remain to feed on this small expanse of open water. However, after spring begins, all waterfowl migratory birds all the same rush to where their chicks used to take. It is this fact that is the biggest mystery of the nature of migratory birds.
Flight is a way to reduce the load on the feed base of your species to such an extent that you can ensure a constant increase in the flock due to chicks
The ecological meaning of bird flights
If we apply an analogy from human life, the question arises as to where migratory birds live on an ongoing basis - where they feed in winter, or where their chicks are hatched.
Flight is a way to reduce the load on the feed base of your species to such an extent that it is possible to ensure a constant increase in the flock due to chicks.
In winter, swans leave places with an excellent food supply, which in the winter becomes inaccessible. Flying to places where there is no winter, they just wait for the winter. There, in reservoirs overflowing with different inhabitants, adult individuals can be fed for some time, but it will not be possible to raise offspring in the quantities necessary for the reproduction of the species. There are too many competitors and predators.
In addition, there is a flight instinct that arose as an evolutionary acquisition during a period of radical climate change. Since then, a long journey is a program leading its carriers in the ways that once turned out to be successful for their ancestors.
So the flight of swans from nesting places is something like evacuation from their homeland to places of temporary detention.
Gallery: swan (25 photos)
Migratory birds (video)
Where swans of different species fly and winter
All swans can be divided into two groups. Some species should be called wintering, others - migratory. Moreover, these species sometimes move very far, hundreds or even thousands of kilometers from their homeland.
So where do swans fly when their homeland is no longer hospitable? This question can be answered by citing the migration behavior of some species of these birds as an example:
- Whooper swan has always been considered the most famous and common of all its brethren. In flight, he screams very loudly. This cry is carried so far that it can be a signal for transmitting information to other flocks. Whooper lives in the tundra from Iceland to Chukotka. These birds can be found in Scandinavia, Great Britain, Ireland, the European and Asian parts of Russia, in Kamchatka. Where do swans born in such harsh conditions hibernate? Migratory routes of different populations are sometimes very different from each other. They wait for winters in the Mediterranean, on the southern coast of the Caspian. Some flocks fly to South and Southeast Asia.
- The black-necked swan is the geographical opposite of the whooper. It nests in the pampas of Argentina and Chile, on the southernmost outskirts of South America. Cold breath makes these birds fly north - to Uruguay, Paraguay, to treeless regions of Brazil.
- The small swan, also called the tundra swan, is very similar to a whooper. In fact, this is his thin copy with a thin neck. Corresponds to the size and voice of this bird. She is no longer able to utter a powerful cry, characteristic of the older brother. The small swan has one more difference from the large one - its range is not so extensive. It lives in the territory from the eastern part of Scandinavia to the western border of Chukotka. Apparently, the features of the range are imprinted on migration behavior - these birds winter in South and Southeast Asia.
- The American swan is very similar to the small tundra. The difference is an even thinner neck and beak color. He is completely black. This black-billed bird nests in the northern regions of Alaska and Canada. She does not fly so far for the winter - on the Pacific coast, from Alaska along the Canadian coast to the border with the United States.
- The trumpeter swan has a lot in common with the American swan, only its habitat is shifted slightly to the south - to the southern regions of Canada. He flies to the southern regions of the United States.
- Black Swan is ubiquitous in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. This bird was brought to the islands on purpose, where it acclimatized very well. Here, these birds lead an absolutely sedentary lifestyle and do not need flights.
- Mute swan was originally widespread in Europe. Now, within its range, it has become universally rare, but it has been resettled in Australia and North America. As a result, it was not entirely clear what kind of birds they were — migratory or settled. Just for each region, they have chosen their life strategy in accordance with the created natural conditions.
In addition, there is a flight instinct that arose as an evolutionary acquisition during a period of radical climate change.
Thus, we can say that birds of this genus are predominantly migratory, however, several species lead a sedentary lifestyle, because they live in conditions of constant plus temperatures.
See also: The main breeds of pigeons
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