One of the most famous northern birds. This taiga duck perfectly gets on in the zone of forest-tundra and northern forest-steppe, creating here the greatest density of its nesting sites. It is a migratory bird, so it winters in the warm latitudes of East Africa, in Indochina, and also in South Asia. Learn about it now.
This bird is very friendly, so at any time of the year they can be found only in large flocks. Sometimes their number reaches several thousand. In large groups, they gather on the shores of marshes, on wet meadows, and also on agricultural fields. From the side of their behavior more like geese than wild ducks. But this bird got its name for its ability to make unusual whistling sounds. It is often called sviyagoy or whistling.
The duck sviyaz is a rather large bird, second in size only to the mallard, with a stocky body, short beak and short neck. A very unusual feature - a high forehead and a long pointed tail. The average weight of males reaches from 600 to 1000 grams, females - 500-900 grams.
Like other wild ducks, the male sviyazy differs from the female by external features and, to a greater extent, in the color of the plumage. So, for example, in spring and early summer, it has a very bright motley plumage: the head is painted in chestnut color with black blotches, then the neck, shoulders and the whole back are gray in color and cross-sectional. The belly is white, the sternum is reddish-gray, the sides and undertail are black, the tail itself is gray. Another distinctive feature is a bright band that stretches along the entire head from the beak to the back of the head, which can be clearly seen in the photo.
Also at these ducks, as well as at the majority, so-called mirrors on wings are well visible. In males, they have a green color with a purple tint. The skin color on the paws is gray, but the bird's beak is bluish with a black edge. As for the female, she has a reddish color of feathers with variegated patches all over her body, as in the photo below.
The ducks are ready for breeding for the very first year of life, however some females do not mate at this time and wait for the next summer. Therefore, part of the pair is formed in the fall before departure for wintering, and part of the pair during the span. In any case, the birds nesting places arrive in pairs. The mating games of these ducks are modest and not very noisy. Males are constantly near their females with fluff feathers, showing the rest of the gentlemen that their lady is busy. Just during the token-up, the sviyaz makes a very loud whistle, for which he received its unusual name.
Not far from the water, the female builds a nest, digging a hole the size of 5-7 centimeters. As a rule, birds choose secluded places in the bushes or in the thickets of last year’s grass. For laying the nest, the female practically does not use plant material, but takes mostly her own down. Laying duck eggs in the period from late May to mid-June, on average, their number varies from 6 to 10 eggs. The male is located next to the female only for the first time of incubation, then removed for a period of molting. Most often at this time they can be seen in the deltas of the Ural and Volga rivers, less often on the lakes of Siberia.
Hatching eggs lasts 25 days. Already at the age of 40-45 days, the chicks can fly independently. At this time, as a rule, the brood breaks up. At the end of August, the birds are going to fly for wintering, although in some areas they may linger long enough.
You can be distinguished at a rather large distance from the rest of the wild migratory ducks. And this is not only due to the motley reddish color of the plumage, but also by its special voice. So, for example, males make a smooth whistle, which can be compared with the sound of a rubber toy "wiwu ..." or "piuuu ...". In the spring they call the female as "swiiruuuu ..." or "frriirruu ...". In response, males of females respond with a somewhat deaf quack "crrrr ....".
Distribution and habitat
Sviyaz ducks mainly occupy the territory of Russia, as well as the North Caucasus, Scandinavia and Finland. Large groups nest in the entire taiga zone of our country, but in the European part are rare. The largest population is in the zone of Kamchatka, Palearctic and on the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk. It is also found on the southern side of the Altai Mountains and Lake Baikal.
Like other migratory river ducks, sviyaz chooses shallow reservoirs with oozy bottom and plenty of vegetation. This, for example, and forest lakes, and swamps, and backwaters. During winter flights, the bird gathers in large groups and rests in warm sea bays, as well as in estuaries.
As for food, then sviyaz - duck-vegetarian. One of her favorite delicacies is the sea rupee. Also, such a vegetable predisposition can be seen in the form of the bird's beak, it is not intended for fishing. The duck also loves duckweed and all species of near-water plants. However, if there are grain crops nearby, the bird will not refuse to eat them too.
Due to the absence of the need to fish, the sea dives badly and practically does not spend time under water. But it moves beautifully through the overgrown harbors of still waters.