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Ostrich rail

By Amplion
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In Holocene epoch in steppes and savannas of Old World and Australia different species of bustards, large birds of Craniformes order were widely settled. But human activity like destruction of habitats and unlimited hunting these birds have come to naught survival chances of bustards during geological cataclysms of the end of Holocene.
In Neocene when in the Central Asia extensive steppes have appeared from the east of Fourseas, they were occupied by large running birds similar to ostriches. Probably, if man has not interfered with destiny of bustards in Holocene, it most likely would be descendants of any bustard species. But in connection with bustard extinction their ecological niche was occupied by descendants of other bird: smaller neighbour and distant relative of bustard, the crake (Crex crex). These birds, large flightless ostrich rails migrate by small flocks in steppes of Central Asia from coast of Fourseas up to bush thickets of Mongolia.
Ostrich rail is the average-sized bird: its growth is about one and half meters, and weight is about 30 kgs. Appearance of this bird is typical for steppe flightless birds: at it there are long legs permitting to run quickly, and long neck strongly increasing the field of vision. In connection with specialization to running at this bird on legs only two toes remained: middle and external ones (as at ostriches). It reduces friction against the ground and permits to develop high speed – bird can run within approximately hour having speed up to 40 kms per hour.
Ostrich rail is not able to fly at all though it had kept wings. They are wide and short, and are using for maneuvering during run, and males also use them for courtship demonstrations. On wings of males there are long soft primary feathers shown during courtship rituals. Tail of this bird is very short: it is not seen from under wings.
Colouring of ostrich rail feathering is characteristic for inhabitants of steppes and savannas: yellowish-brown background is banded by thin cross strips; neck is covered with short light yellow feathers. Legs of bird are featherless and light brown.
Ostrich rail has strong wide beak: bird eats all kinds of forage that are possible to be found in steppe – small vertebrates and large insects, and also firm seeds of graminoids.
Usually these birds wander in steppe in small flocks – about 10 – 20 birds at all. In flock of ostrich rails there are both males and females. They do not differ almost from each other in colouring, only males have more bright color of feathering, and females seem “faded” near them. These birds are very cautious: while some birds search for livelihood, others look in sides searching for possible predators. Frightened away birds run the same way as the crake, their far ancestor: having extended head forward and shaking it at each step. Not reducing speed of run they can make very sharp turns opening thus wings.
New habit of life has made males of this species more tolerant to each other outside of nesting season, but during nesting steppe appears shared between them to nesting sites. Each male signs the right to its possession of the certain territory, loudly shouting. The voice of ostrich rail is more similar to long rolling chirring. During shout male extends neck upwards and blows throat which acts as resonator. Borders of sites during nesting are determined by any remarkable reference points: high bushes, separate trees or termitariums. Each male supervises territory approximately three hundred meters in diameter.
This bird is monodin; pair is formed only to one nesting season. The male has occupied territory, actively shows itself, making courtship dance: it opens wings, spins in its place, stamps legs, “bows” and loudly shouts. At this time its voice is most similar to hoarse croak. If on its territory other male gets, skirmish with the most unpredictable consequences is possible: the lawful owner of territory will snatch at the newcomer, striking it impacts by legs and beak. Usually conflict does not reach it and stranger bird escapes. If, however, newcomer is audacious and is not going to surrender, it is impossible to escape fight. Being in heat, males drag each other by feathers, tearing them out, kick and try to tumble down the contender on the ground. When fight comes to an end by flight of one contender, winner some time chases it loudly shouting.
Ostrich cranes arrange nest on the ground. Pair of birds rears posterity in common: male protects borders of territory for a short time replacing hatching female at the nest. At this time parents movable by instinct are able to drive off from nest practically any predator meeting in steppe. Protecting nest birds blow throat, stand on end feathers on neck and loudly hiss. If the enemy approaches too close, impacts by legs and beak are put to use. Due to such protection the survival rate of ostrich rail chicks is rather high.
In clutch there are 4 – 6 large eggs. Shell of eggs is motley: on yellowish background there are randomly scattered brown and black stains. The incubating lasts about four weeks. Chicks are covered with black down; along their backs longitudinal yellow strip passes. Having dried they at once abandon nest and do not come back any more to it. Parents in the beginning feed nestlings from beak, keeping food in mouth and enabling nestlings to peck it. Nestlings quickly study to eat independently and parents provide them more protection than food. To the end of second week of life at young birds feathers start to appear, and they change black chick down for juvenile yellowish-brown feathering. To this time territorial claims of adult birds gradually disappear and families with posterity unite to rather numerous flocks. At one-year-old age young birds get colouring of adults, and being one year old it can take part in nesting.
Life expectancy of ostrich rail does not exceed 15 years.
Image details
Image size
2100x2838px 3.77 MB
Make
Canon
Model
CanoScan LiDE 210
Published:
© 2011 - 2021 Amplion
Comments11
anonymous's avatar
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9Weegee's avatar
It reminds me a lot of the Eogruids
Windstrider2017's avatar
I love the way this was drawn! (both the bird and the background)
Amplion's avatar
Thank you very-very much!!!!
moyashisoba's avatar
good job!( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Amplion's avatar
Thank you very much!!!!!
moyashisoba's avatar
i'm happy to have met you٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و
i wish happiness for wonderful you( ๑❛ᴗ❛๑)۶♡٩(๑❛ᴗ❛๑ )
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