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Warblers (or true warblers) belong to the family of warblers and are united in the genus of small insectivorous birds. The distribution area of warblers covers the territories of Africa, Asia and Europe, but the greatest biological diversity is observed in the territories of East Asia.
Together with the genus of painted warblers, the genus of true warblers was separated into a separate family only in 2006. At the present stage, this genus includes about fifty-five species, but there is a possibility that the classification of several species will be revised.
True warblers predominantly live in coniferous and deciduous forests. Fifteen types of warblers are found on the territory of Russia.
Most species of warblers build their nests directly on the earth's surface. The nest, as a rule, has the shape of a hut and is endowed with a side exit. Only the female takes part in the construction of the nest. The basis of the diet of warblers is small insects, which birds hunt in the crowns of trees.
Warblers are small birds. In addition, they have a slender physique. Their body length varies from ten to fourteen centimeters.
Different types of warblers are similar in lifestyle. Features of nesting, nature of food, etc. in representatives of various types of warblers, in fact, they have many common features. Chiffchaffs spend most of their time flipping from one branch to another, that is, they are almost constantly in the crown of trees. An interesting fact is that males spend a lot of time singing during the day. At the same time, they climb to the very tops of trees.
Warblers are brightly colored birds. On the contrary, the color palette of their plumage is very low-contrast. The chaffs are painted in almost invisible colors. Moreover, representatives of many species of the genus of true warblers are very similar to each other. The plumage is usually brown, green, or yellow. All warblers are characterized by the absence of sexual dimorphism in color. The color of the plumage does not differ between adults and juveniles. The tail of the warbler has twelve large feathers.
Warblers are inhabitants of deciduous forests. Most species of true warblers live in deciduous and coniferous forests. However, there are species, representatives of which can be found at such a height where the trees are no longer there. Such species have been recorded in Asian territories.
The diet of warblers includes small insects. They form the basis of the diet. Warblers feed on bugs, aphids, flies, mosquitoes, beetles, as well as their eggs and larvae. In addition, the diet is varied by spiders and berries. The food is caught on the fly or found on branches, needles and leaves.
Warblers are very mobile birds. Throughout the day, they search the crowns of bushes and trees. Chiffchaffs tirelessly search for food, the size of their prey (usually spiders and insects) does not often exceed one centimeter. The diet of warblers includes aphids, the body length of which is approximately two grams, and the weight is approximately one milligram. Nature has perfectly adapted the warblers for collecting insects in tree crowns and endowed them with the necessary energy. It is worth noting the fact that despite the fact that all warblers are very restless (they constantly jump from one branch to another in a hurry, jump inside the crown of a bush or tree), the hunting methods are not identical in different species. Some warblers prefer to hunt in the crowns of deciduous trees, others in conifers, and still others are not addicted to one thing. Moreover, some warblers hunt deep in the crown, others feed on the periphery.
Warblers build their nests on the ground. Not always. Nests of these birds can also be located either at an average height in a tree, or directly above the ground (in tall grass, bushes or stumps). But most species of warblers still build nests right on the ground. The chaff nests are closed and have a side exit. As a rule, the nest is made in the form of a hut. The female is engaged in its construction, she also incubates the clutch. The clutch contains from three to eight eggs. The eggs are either pure white or have reddish or brownish specks on a white background.
Ratchet warbler is a small but beautiful bird. The body length of the ratchet warbler ranges between twelve and fourteen centimeters. The wing is approximately seven centimeters long. The chiffchaff weighs barely ten grams. As for beauty, individuals of this species are painted as unpretentious as representatives of other species. The ventral side of the body has a white color, which is somewhat varied by the yellow bloom on the sides and front of the neck. The dorsal side is yellow-green. There is a bright yellow eyebrow above the eye. It should be noted that due to the latter feature, the ratchet warbler is often called the yellow-browed warbler.
Ratchet warbler nests in European territories. The exception is the extremely southern and northern regions of Europe. Ratchet warblers are migratory birds - for the winter they go to the northern part of equatorial Africa. early departure. By the end of October, ratchet warblers already arrive at wintering sites. Individuals of this species arrive in Central Europe around the end of April, and males appear first at nesting sites. They look for the right parts and start singing - their song is abrupt and short. It should be noted that the song ends with a crackling trill, for which, apparently, this warbler got its name. As a rule, the male begins the song on the branch of one tree, and ends already on the branch of another.
The ratchet warbler builds a nest on the ground. This is the only option for the location of the nest for individuals of this species. The nest is always located in the immediate vicinity of a clearing or forest edge. As is typical for all warblers, only the female takes part in the construction of the nest. The building materials for the nest are large hairs, horsehair, dry stems of forest cereals, etc. The ratchet warbler's nest is quite similar to the willow warbler's nest. The difference lies in the size (in the willow warbler it is smaller) and the absence of feathers in the litter in the nest of the ratchet warbler. Clutch usually contains from five to seven eggs (falls in May or June). The white surface of the eggs is streaked with lilac or purple hues. The female incubates eggs for thirteen days, after which she feeds the hatched chicks for another twelve days. The male helps the female to feed the offspring, which is generally typical for all types of warblers. Surprisingly, in one day, parents make up to four hundred flights to the nest together, each time bringing food to the chicks. After the chicks fly out of the nest, they receive food from their parents for a whole week.
The willow warbler is a typical representative of Central Russian forests. This is true. Vesnichka lives in the territories of Europe and Siberia. The exception is the southern European regions, as well as the extreme north and southeast of Siberia. The dorsal side of the body of the willow warbler is olive-gray, and the main tone of the ventral side is white. Uppertail is dark. Willow warblers have a slender build. Body length reaches fourteen and a half centimeters. The wing length varies from sixty to seventy four millimeters. The weight is approximately ten grams.
The willow warbler is a migratory bird. Her wintering sites include Arabia, Western Asia and South Africa. Warblers fly to nesting sites in different ways. If we are talking about the northern parts of the nesting area, then individuals of this species arrive there only with the onset of summer. At the same time, the birds cover a distance of ten thousand kilometers in two to three months. If we are talking about the southern regions, then you can see the warblers there already in mid-March. Male willow warblers are the first to arrive at nesting sites. Individuals of this species nest in mountain and lowland forests. At the same time, willow warblers prefer thickets along river banks, forest cannons and clearings, clearings with young undergrowth, deciduous plantations, etc. Inhabitants of the tundra and mountain landscapes settle in shrub thickets. Having found the required place, the male sings songs from dawn to dusk, which consist of melodic, clean, pleasant whistles. The song is fluid and short. A little later, a female flies to the place chosen by the male, a pair is formed. The nest of the willow warbler is built directly on the earth's surface in the immediate vicinity of a forest edge, a clearing or a clearing, that is, from a clarified place. The nest is always covered with dry grass stalks on top. It is so well camouflaged that it is almost impossible to detect it. The nest of willow warblers has the shape of a ball, endowed with a lateral inlet; the willow warbler's tray is lined with feathers. The construction of the nest continues for five to seven days, the female plays an important role in this process, while the male only delivers building material to her. The clutch contains from four to eight eggs. Brownish-red specks are clearly visible on the white surface of the eggs.
The Willow Warbler lays eggs twice a year. It is characteristic only for individuals nesting in the southern part of the range. The first clutch is in May. The second clutch occurs in late June or early July. As for the northern areas of the range, the female hatches chicks only once a year - the only clutch occurs in June. The female incubates eggs from thirteen to fifteen days, but both parents feed the offspring that have been born - it takes from fifteen to eighteen days. After the chicks leave the nest, they receive food from their parents for another week. After this time, young willow warblers begin to wander through the forest. Young individuals huddle in flocks. As for the adults, they are preparing for the second nesting (for those for whom this is typical) - it takes about two weeks to equip the nest on a new site. Willow warblers start early flight to wintering grounds. Already from the end of July, individuals of this species fly away from their nesting sites, and already at the end of October all willow warblers arrive at their destination.
The crowns of deciduous trees and shrubs are a feeding place for willow warblers. And the only thing. Warblers carefully examine the leaves and thin branches of trees and shrubs in search of prey, which they often peck on the fly. Vesnichki prefer to flutter at the ends of twigs, rather than seek food in the grass and shrub undergrowth. The diet of willow warblers includes aphids, spiders, caterpillars and pupae of butterflies, small dipterans, small beetles, sawflies, and in autumn the diet of these birds also diversifies with berries.
Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler are similar in appearance. The body length of the chiffchaff warbler varies from twelve to fourteen and a half centimeters, and the length of the wing is in the range from five and a half to six and a half centimeters. Weight ranges from eight to nine grams. The chiffchaff has black legs (what is its difference from the willow warbler). In addition, individuals of these two species differ significantly in singing.
The distribution area of chiffchaff is small. On the contrary, it is very significant. This bird lives almost everywhere where there is shrub or woody vegetation. Thus, the chiffchaff can be seen on the territory from the Scandinavian Peninsula in the west to the Kolyma River basin in the east. The distribution area of the chiffchaff warbler in some places even goes beyond the Arctic Circle, and in the south - to the Mediterranean coast. The nesting places of individuals of this species include the southern mountainous Central Asian regions, as well as the territories of Asia Minor and the Caucasus. The nesting sites of these warblers include the southern regions of Asia, the North African territories and the territories of the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the southern regions of the nesting range. Chiffchaffs leave their wintering grounds already at the beginning of March, and begin to arrive at nesting sites in April, which is quite early for warblers. The first to arrive are males, who, having chosen a site, begin to sing. Thanks to the melodic, loud, clear singing, the chiffchaff got its name. After all, chiffchaffs make approximately the following sounds: "shadow-shadow-shadow ...", which is somewhat similar to the sound of slowly falling drops of water. Females arrive at nesting sites about a week after the arrival of males. It is the female who chooses the place for the nest in the area that was chosen by the male. The nest is built no higher than sixty to ninety centimeters above the ground. As a rule, it settles on stumps, in undergrowth bushes, in the thick of spruce undergrowth, or directly on the ground. There are always bleached areas near the nest. The exception for the height at which the nest is located may be the following case. Chiffchaff warblers can build a nest at a height of two to four meters (in spruce paws) when the forest is often visited by animals or people. The nest has a hemispherical shape, in its upper part there is a lateral opening - an entrance. Laying takes place in May. It consists of five to seven eggs. Their white surface is mottled with reddish-brown spots. The female incubates eggs for thirteen or fourteen days. After the birth of chicks, the female spends a lot of time next to them, warming her offspring. Both the female and the male feed the chicks. In one day they bring them food together on average three or three hundred and fifty times.
The green warbler builds a nest exclusively from their moss. This is its peculiarity in relation to other warblers. The moss is held together by pieces of last year's leaves and grass stalks. A bit of wool and horsehair is used to line the surface of the tray. The green warbler builds a nest in dense grass. It can often be found in nettles. Sometimes it is, as it were, covered by a fallen tree, bush or overhanging bunch of grass. Clutch of individuals of this species contains five or six eggs. Their surface is pure white, but the shell is so thin that the yolk shining through it gives the surface of the egg a yellowish-pink hue.