One of the rarest and elegant birds of the whole earth. Listed in the Red Book MSOP. Represents a squad from the family of the skewers, which are included in the large detachment of hawkshaped.
Skope is a rather large bird, the body size of which varies from 55 to 58 centimeters in length and wingspan in the region of 150 centimeters. The color of the head is white with a characteristic black strip, which begins with the beak and ends at the back of the head. The upper part of the body is black and gray. A necklace of black feathers is located on the chest. There is a small crest in the back of the head. The feathers themselves look a little disheveled.
Depending on the habitat, the color of the body may change. However, all species have very long wings of a onshaped shape with a characteristic bend near the joint of the wrist. Thanks to its structure of wings, in the flight of the skop, it gains similarity with a seagull. The tail of the skopes is also noteworthy, which has the ability to part in the form of a fan. Yellow eyes. The beak is slightly twisted and dark.
Sexual dimorphism lies in the predominance of black in the plumage of the female, as well as a pronounced strong necklace in the neck. You can also distinguish individuals by weight: females are almost 20% heavier than males.
The skip is located on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica. Quite often they are found in the regions of South America and Indo-Malaysia. Egypt and the islands of the Red Sea can be populated during winter. On the territory of Eurasia, they prefer to dwell near cold lakes and rivers. Tall trees are chosen for nesting.
Almost the entire diet of these birds consists of fish. Skopes feed literally any fish that are near the surface of the water. They hunt fish, soaring over the water. Sometimes they can arrange ambushes. For these birds, it is very important that the water is clean and as transparent as possible so that you can see fish at a distance of 40 meters from the surface. Having found the desired booty, the skip rushes at it from a steep corner at high speed, and then clings to the victim with its long claws. He begins to eat prey from the head, and the rest is either throws away or carries in the nest. Virtually do not drink skop.
Large vengeance can hunt several massive fish. However, they may not calculate the weight of the booty, which is why the caught fish breaks off the claws of the skopy and falls to the bottom.
The propagation period may vary depending on the lifestyle of the skop. In sedentary birds, it occurs in December and lasts until March, and in migratory skopes it begins from April to March. The wedding period consists in the courtship of males for females. They arrange flights near nests, attracting females and defending themselves from males. After the formation of the couple, the stage of housing arrangement begins. Basically, the female herself finds materials for the nest, and they are engaged in arrangement with the male. The built nest is their permanent house, so quite often they care well for it. After conception, the female begins to lay eggs with an interval of a couple of days. As a rule, from 2 to 4 small chicks is born.
The chicks who hatched earlier are stronger than those who hatched later. The process of incubation lasts within 40 days. It is noteworthy that both the female and the male pair are engaged. Only the births of abdominal parents feed small fish. The female divides the fish caught by the male into pieces and fed her chicks. For a month and a half, small skips gain hunting skills. At the age of 2 months they leave nests and begin an independent life. Smathered skips become no earlier than three years of age.
Enemies in nature
In North America, skops can be a victim of adult nudes or whiteheaded eagles. Various types of owls and eagles, martens and raccoons, representatives of the cat family and snakes are hunting for them everywhere. As a rule, many animals ruin the nests of the skops.
A number of large crocodiles, especially the Nile crocodile, can be attacked in the territory of the southern countries. He grabs a skip that dives for prey into the water.
Currently, the number of skolo is concerned. Birds are listed in the Red Book of a number of countries, as well as in various environmental documents. In some regions, the small number of these birds is associated with the hunting of poachers, poisoning the pesticides of their habitat and a reduction in the number of feed base. On the territory of Europe and North America, it was possible to restore the number of skopes by introducing environmental measures and creating conditions for artificial nests.
The lifespan of the skops reaches about 25 years. It is noteworthy that with age, these birds gain more chances of long existence. The main statistics suggest that only 60 %survives of young chicks, and from adult representatives the level of survival increases to 90 %.
On the territory of North America, SKOP at the age of 25 is considered the most elderly, and in Finland there are individuals that have survived until the age of 26. I broke the European Skop record at the age of 30 years.