Corncrake, or, as it is also called, dergach is a prominent representative of the shepherd’s family. Its small size allows not only hiding in the grass, but also moving around in it without any problems. And it was her stealth that made this bird a coveted trophy among many hunters.
Usually, the corncrake nests in wet meadows, necessarily with tall grass, in swamps with dense shrubs, arable land and even open landscapes throughout Eurasia with the main population breeding in Eurasia. However, the bird is migratory and winters in the savannas of Africa, its southeastern part.
Corncrake leads a nocturnal lifestyle, practically not protruding from the thickets chosen by it, it flies very reluctantly (and only out of severe necessity), however, during flights they are able to overcome significant distances of thousands of kilometers.
Despite the fact that the corncrake is almost impossible to meet live, since the bird does not go out into open spaces, its voice perfectly outlines the place of its nesting in calm weather, the cry “derg-derg” (from which the name of the species probably came) is heard up to 2 kilometers.
We listen to the voice of the corncrake
Usually the call of the corncrake can be heard in late spring in May and early June this is how males attract a female and mark their habitat, from evening to morning. The rest of the time, the bird behaves silently, especially during the wintering period, so as not to attract excess attention of its enemies.
Korostel is not in vain fearing: after all, bird meat has pleasant taste, and hunting for it is an interesting entertainment due to the secrecy and behavior of these chickens.
Many naturalists note that an adult Korostel with their structure is very reminiscent of a chicken of chicken familiar to everyone in adolescence. Bird in sizes can be compared with quail.
Korostel has a miniature body with a streamlining shape, and its modest grayish color with longitudinal tannins in the upper part and a light abdomen is the best possible to meet the task of conspiracy.
Females differ from males with the color of the chest and heads, which they have hoarse, while in males these places are painted out in the same way as the whole body.
Features of the constitution and color of the dergacha give the bird the ability to move quickly and dexterously in thickets of plants, while maintaining speed and agility. On Earth, the bird feels much more confident than in the flight to which it resorts in the most extreme case. Seeing the danger, Korostel is able to fly to a relatively minimum distance, then to hide in a height of a favorite in a favorite way, which, according to some scientists, gave the name a species: twitching, running out, stretching out his head. For this, nature awarded this species with thin, long legs, very strong, the task of which is the nimble run in high grass.
Korostel is not the largest bird its dimensions coincide with the size of the quail: the body up to 30 cm long, and the mass is up to 200 grams. Thanks to its conspiracy abilities, the bird has a fairly significant life expectancy up to seven years.
An elongated neck, a rounded head, a conical strong beak, and a relatively short one (shorter than that of a shepherd, but more than that of a quail) everything in the twitch helps him lead his usual secretive lifestyle.
Males are slightly larger than females and slightly different in color: they can be immediately distinguished by the grayish color of the head and chest but only during the breeding season. At other times, the color becomes much lighter and acquires buffy tones to match the body.
Interestingly, during the mating season, males are able to achieve a female and sing songs for more than a month, both night and day. Only a weather cataclysm in the form of a drop in temperature or significant gusts of wind can prevent this madness.
Corncrake prefers to live and nest in Eurasia (forest and steppe zones), and even penetrates into Transbaikalia. It is also found in the northern territories from the Russian taiga to Norway. To the south, its place of distribution captures Italy, Greece, Iran, Kazakhstan, Altai and even South Africa.
This species of birds prefers to nest in semi-open landscapes, choosing, first of all, meadows with tall grasses, thickets and shrubs. Does not neglect agricultural fields grain, potato, clover, as well as forest clearings, swamps, steppe and high mountain meadows.
He likes places with tall grass, but unlike moorhens, avoid long-term puddles and open spaces. In Africa it prefers savannahs with high vegetation, in China it can settle among flax.
The diet of the corncrake is varied it is mixed, but still with a preponderance towards animal products. The basis of the diet is invertebrates: worms, spiders, snails, beetles, insects and even some pests such as click beetles and mosquitoes. Less often, the dergach catches small mice and frogs.
The corncrake breeds several times a year, for which it arranges a nest in a convenient hollow (preferably in the shade and with comfort). Up to 15 greenish eggs with red dots can be found in the bird’s clutch. Interestingly, males do not take any part in raising offspring.
For a long time, the Red Book considered the corncrake to be a vulnerable species, but gradually the situation began to improve, and new information about the abundance of this species appeared in Europe. This was facilitated by a significant change in the hay collection technology, which previously caused the death of a significant number of clutches.
During the breeding season, corncrakes are significantly territorial, but prefer to settle in small groups of several families, despite the large number of unoccupied territories.
At the same time, males shout to each other, outlining the opportunity to protect their territory and family. Although the concept of a family among dergaches is conditional these birds are polygamous, both males and females. T.e. are constantly looking for a new partner. That is why males court in their territory, and females calmly move around any territory, since they are not a threat. Well, after the reproduction period, the borders are erased and the males already have the opportunity to move calmly in search of food and housing.