Cedar - the bird, which is also called a nut, belongs to the passerine and to the large family of this order - corvidae. The international scientific classification name is Nucifraga caryocatactes. It means “nut destroyer” or “nutcracker” - this is the name of the bird translated from Latin, Greek, German, English and other European languages.
Origin of view and description
Cedar forests, along with other 120 species of birds from the corvidae family, have common ancestors, the earliest remains of which were found in Germany and France. They lived another 17 million years BC. In its appearance, cedar outlines resemble a crow, but much smaller than this bird.
There is a division into nine different subspecies in appearance, type of food, and habitat, but many ornithologists tend to generalize them into two groups: the northern species and the southern one. They are found in different regions of Eurasia.
In addition, there is also another species that lives in the coniferous forests of North America - Nucifraga columbiana or Clark's nutcracker. These birds are smaller than their Eurasian counterparts and have a light gray, aspen plumage, and their wings and tail are black. They nest in mountain pine forests and have many similarities with other representatives of corvids - Podoces or desert jays.
Depending on the nature of the diet, birds are divided into nuts - those who have hazelnuts and pine nuts in the diet. Nuts have a more powerful but short beak. In Siberia, individuals are found with a thinner and longer beak, adapted for eating pine nuts.
The main habitat in Europe consists of forests:
- ordinary spruce;
- Swiss pine;
- mixed fir forests;
- Scots pine;
- black pine;
- Macedonian pine;
- Hazel (Corylus).
Siberian and Far Eastern inhabitants prefer:
- Siberian pine;
- Japanese cedar;
- Sakhalin fir.
Tien Shan inhabitants are attracted by forests of the Tien Shan spruce. In the Himalayas, the usual habitat is coniferous forests, cedar deodar, blue pine, pinvoi fir, Himalayan fir, Morinda spruce with rhododendron thickets.
Appearance and features
Photo: Cedar Bird
These representatives of the passerine squad are slightly smaller than jackdaws; they can be compared in size to a jay. The length of the bird is from 30 to 40 cm, 10-12 cm falls on the tail. The wingspan is in the range from 50 to 60 cm. The female can weigh 125-190 g, and the males can range from 130 to 200 g. Females are not only smaller than the opposite sex, but their color is slightly paler, and white spots are not so pronounced .
Pine cedar, which is found in most of Russia (N. caryocatactes), has brown-chocolate plumage with white spots. There are no such spots on the head and neck. The wing is black with a greenish tint, some wing feathers have white tips.
The tail also has a black color. The two middle tail feathers at the end are painted with a white narrow strip; at the side, such a strip is wider. The lower tail coverts are white. Legs and beak are gray-black, eyes are brownish-brown. The paws themselves are powerful with tenacious claws that help hold the bumps when they are peeling.
The plumage plumage well disguises this bird. Such coloring is necessary not very fast cedar. She does not have an elegant flight and does not like to make large flights. To explore the surroundings, the birds select bare branches or twigs.
Interesting fact: A small-sized bird boldly attacks the squirrel in order to take away a pine cone or hazelnut from it.
Where does cedar live?
Photo: Kedrovka in Russia
There is no continuous habitat of pine nut in Eurasia, especially in the European part. It depends on the presence of forests that can provide the main food for these birds - nuts. Kedrovka can be found in many regions of the north of the continent, where its habitat descends to the south of central Europe, in the Tien Shan region and in the east of the Japanese islands. They are found in the Scandinavian countries and the Alpine mountains in northern Italy, possibly in the Pyrenees.
The southern border passes through the Carpathians, rises to the south of Belarus, passes along the valley of the Kama River. In Asia, the southern border descends to the Altai Mountains, in Mongolia it passes along Hangai and Kentei, Greater Khingan, in China - the Zhangguangtsailin mountain range, rising to southern Primorye. In the north, the border everywhere coincides with the border of the forest and forest-tundra zones. Isolated habitats include the Tien Shan Mountains, Dzhungar Alatau, Ketmen, the Kyrgyz Range, the western spurs of the Talas Massif, to the eastern slopes of the Altai Mountains.
In Kashmir, a subspecies of Siberian pine, changes to N. Multipunctata. This bird is larger and darker, but light spots have large outlines. In the southeast of the Himalayas, another subspecies is found - N. hemispila, comparable in size to Kashmir individuals, but their main color is lighter and their white spots are smaller. The range of this bird captures most of the Himalayan mountains, eastern Tibet and the southern regions of China, from eastern Afghanistan to the Korean Peninsula.
Kedrovka moves little in space, loves settledness. She is especially embarrassed by the water. In lean years, these birds are forced to make longer flights in search of food. Ornithologists believe that this is exactly how the pine trees came to the Kuril and Japanese islands, Sakhalin.
Interesting fact: A mass migration of pine nuts was observed in 1885 from the north-east of Russia (Arkhangelsk and Perm provinces) to the south-west and southeast of the Ural Mountains. In the south-west direction, the birds moved through Poland and Hungary, they migrated to Germany and Belgium, Holland, France, and Southern England. Only a small part of the birds returned. The bulk died, some remained in the new regions.
Now you know where the cedar bird lives. Let’s see what she eats.
What does cedar eat?
Photo: Cedar in winter
These birds in their diet prefer pine nuts, but in many territories where broad-leaved forests predominate, they eat hazelnuts, beech seeds and other plants. Other conifers can also be part of the food preferences of this inhabitant of the forests. Birds in the fall make many preparations, collecting nuts in hiding places.
A powerful beak helps to get nut kernels for forest gourmets. Kedrovka slightly opens it and hits the shell. The impact falls on two points at once and breaks the shell. Even walnuts were found in cedar cedars; a powerful beak is able to split their thicker shells.
Interesting fact: Cedar pine is used to transport stocks using a sublingual bag, in which it can accommodate about a hundred pine nuts.
Bird stocks are hidden in different places, they especially like to do this in clefts, on rocky slopes. Even in the spring, thrifty birds continue to search for their pantries and feed their stocks of chicks. They well remember the places of such caches and easily find their pantries under the snow. A small bird, which barely reaches 200 grams, is able to procure stocks for the winter of up to 60 kg, and sometimes up to 90 kg of pine nuts. And in her stomach is placed 10-13 nucleoli.
Interesting fact: Caches with stocks not used by cedar trees make it possible to sprout future powerful cedars. This bird is the main distributor of both Siberian pine and cedar dwarf pine high in the mountains and far to the north. The seeds of these trees can be found in the pantry of pinecones at a distance of four kilometers.
Even in the near-tundra zone and char, one can see cedar seedlings brought in by tireless cedar. Sprouts do not survive in such harsh conditions and die after a couple of years. But most of these stocks of birds are made at the edges of the forest, along the edge of taiga thickets, which helps the emergence of new shoots of mighty cedar.
The cedar menu also includes:
- insects and their larvae;
- land crustaceans;
- eggs of other birds.
Cedar can safely attack small birds, and having won, first of all, it will bite the brain from its prey. This feathery and carrion does not disdain, it can eat an animal caught in a trap or a loop. If a tree is affected by insect larvae, then birds gather around it to profit. They can even use their beaks to remove insects that go underground for pupation.
Features of character and lifestyle
Photo: Cedar Bird
The nature of the lifestyle of this forest bird differs at different times of the year. During nesting, it finds hidden corners in the forest thicket and rarely leaves the boundaries of this small territory. If at this time a person accidentally comes close to this place, then the bird quickly hides, buried in the tops of trees.
At other times of the year, these birds are quite sociable, not at all afraid of people and can stay close to housing, knowing that there is always something to profit from. Most often, pine trees can be seen at the edges and glades, along the edge of the forest, along forest rivers and streams.
Interesting fact: Kedrovka, like other lies, is very inventive. Ornithologists observed how they mined pine moth caterpillars in November directly from under the snow, making oblique passages in the snow cover.
Usually birds sit on the lower branches of trees, extracting seeds from cones. If they notice the danger, they can fly up and hide almost silently at the top of one of the nearest trees. Sometimes a bird can let a person come very close.
Cedar trees make interesting sounds. They can be compared with the cry of a raven, but not so rejoicingly, it is more like a cry of a jay. Their calls may sound like “cray-cray”, if they are very worried, scared, then “cr-cr-cr”. Sometimes a set of sounds can even be called a likeness of singing.
Social structure and reproduction
Photo: Cedar in the forest
Cedar forests can be called public birds, except for the time of nesting. If you notice one bird, then there is always a chance to meet a few more nearby. Vapors form at the end of winter, and nests are arranged even before the final snow melts. The nest of this forest resident can be met extremely rarely, only in the most deaf thickets, if at that time a person meets cedar pine, it seeks to quietly slip away from it. Depending on climatic conditions, these birds, both female and male, are engaged in the construction of their nests from March to May.
This is a rather large structure about 30 cm in diameter and up to 15 cm high. In this case, the tray is quite small: about 10-15 cm in diameter. The nest is located high on fir trees or other conifers, in the place where the branch leaves the trunk. Dry coniferous branches covered with lichen are laid at its base, birch branches follow the next layer, the nest is lined with grass, bark fibers, all this comes with clay admixture, and on top it is covered with dry grass, moss, and down.
Birds lay 3 to 7, but most often 5 eggs are bluish-white or fawn. Olive or smaller violet-gray speckles go along the main background of the shell. Sometimes there are few inclusions and they are collected at the blunt end. Eggs of oblong shape are about three centimeters long, and two and a half centimeters across.
Both parents are involved in hatching. Chicks appear after 19 days. First they are fed insects and berries, kernels of nuts. After three weeks, the chicks already fly out of the nest and are able to independently obtain food. But even the smallest birds do not hide anymore, shouting greeting parents bringing food, and adult birds with desperate cries rush at anyone who encroaches on the offspring. After the chicks hatch, the old birds molt. When the kids get stronger, flocks of pine trees move from deaf places to more open ones. Maturity in these birds occurs by one to two years.
Natural enemies of pine trees
Photo: Cedar in nature
The forest bird, although not large, is heavy on take-off and becomes defenseless when it digs out its strategic reserves, while losing vigilance and caution. At this time, a fox, a wolf, smaller predators such as a marten, sable, and weasel can sneak up on her. She is also in danger when she hides supplies. If the bird has noticed that it is being watched at this time, it tries to disguise its pantry.
Lynx is a danger in trees, and representatives of the marten family, which can perfectly climb trunks, are able to destroy nests, destroying the clutch or attacking chicks. Birds of prey also prey on pine forests: hawks, owls, peregrine falcons, and kites.
Interesting fact: If the clutch is ruined by predators, then pine trees can make a new nest and lay eggs again.
One of the enemies of cedar is man. There is no special hunt for it, although cedar meat is edible, but it has a specific, bitter taste. More harmful is the activity of people in deforestation. But the worst disaster is forest fires that flare up every year due to human faults, many hectares of forests burn out annually in Western Siberia, the Irkutsk Region, Buryatia, and throughout Transbaikalia. It is there that there are large massifs of cedar, which is the main place of resettlement and forage base of pine cedars. In fires, nests with clutches and chicks die. Adult birds are deprived of food and their pantry supplies, which dooms them to a hungry winter, which not every bird will survive in such conditions.
Population and species status
Photo: Kedrovka in Russia
These representatives of lies inhabit coniferous and mixed coniferous-birch forests, with predominance of conifers. Mountain forests with fringes and alpine meadows are the main places where European pine forests settle. From the south of France, the range extends to the Urals and Kazakhstan, is distributed throughout Mongolia and Siberia, reaches the Far East and captures Kamchatka, northern China, Korea and Japan.
The technogenic situation, frequent forest fires, and the increase in agricultural land due to forest areas influence the decrease in the number of pine nut trees. But the population of these birds is not threatened with extinction and, despite the downward trend, remains stable.
The habitat of cedar wood is wide enough and does not approach the threshold of vulnerability. Percentage reduction of a population of less than 30 in ten years or three generations. The number of pine cedars around the world is estimated at 4.9 - 14, 99 million individuals. Ornithologists believe that 370 thousand - 1.1 million pairs nest in Europe, which is 739 thousand - 2.2 million individuals, which is approximately 15% of the total number.
National estimates of the breeding pair population are:
- China - 10 thousand to 100 thousand pairs;
- Korea - 1 million pairs;
- Japan - 100 - 10 thousand pairs;
- Russia - 10 thousand - 100 thousand pairs.
The southern subspecies is being reduced due to the destruction of Taiwanese forests, whereas in the European walnut in the time period 1980-2013. had a stable tendency to maintain livestock.
Cedar - a small forest bird plays a large role in the distribution of seeds of various conifers, from which new trees then emerge. In addition, they destroy the pests of the trees that settled on them. Birds, seeking food, in large numbers throw cedar cones from tall trees, thereby helping to make reserves for the winter and other animals. Even bears, wandering into such cedar forests, eat fallen cones, sending them to their mouths.A nut or pine nut is a very interesting and useful bird, worthy of care and protection.