Ukraine and its temperate climate and varied topography host an assortment of permanent and seasonal avian residents. During summer the migratory birds spend time inland, and most of them breed at this period of the year. In winter, they migrate along the Pacific coastlines and stay there until March when they migrate back to land. Most birds live, hunt, and migrate in flocks. Even so, the native birds in Ukraine exhibit some unique but interesting characteristics. For example, the yellow-billed loon spend most of its life looking after itself, resting, sunbathing, and staying as clean and tidy as possible. On the other hand, the Manx shearwater appears to take on the shape of a cross when flying.
Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)
The snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) is a medium-sized passerine bird species in the Calcariidae family. The migratory bird hides in rocky and mountain slopes. In the winter, the bird migrates to the coastal fields, agricultural areas, and salt marshes. The birds' white wings are distinctive. The Plectrophenax nivalis is medium sized and exhibits sexual dimorphism. However, the male is slightly larger with black and white coloring while the female has a brilliant grayish-brown coloring. In winter the birds look more similar, with inky black feathers turning grayish ginger brown and the bills turn yellow. Snow bunts are monogamous and breeds in the far north altitude in late May. Nests are hidden in the rocky terrains to avoid predation. The female lays four to six eggs in a season. The incubation period is four to ten days where males feed the nest-bound females. The chicks fledge after ten to fifteen days. They are social birds and migrate in a large flock. The migrating flocks appear constant since the birds at the back fly over the birds in front.
Rock Sparrow (Petronia Petronia)
The Rock Sparrow (Petronia Petronia) is a small passerine bird that breeds on rocky hills in Ukraine, the western regions of North Africa, Central Asia, and several Southern European countries. The species is around 15 to 17 centimeters in length. It has a weak crown stripe and a strong whitish supercilium. The back wings and back are patterned brown, while underparts are streaked. These birds are monochromatic with a distinguishing yellow mark of their upper breast. Juveniles do not have the yellow patch on the throat instead they have rusty tinged upperparts and the underparts are whitish and tinged but have no stripes. The legs are pale yellow in contrast to the light brown in adults. Petronia Petronia feeds on seeds and some insects. A female lays 3 to 7 eggs. Social monogamy is the most traditional mating pattern though monogamy and sequential and simultaneous polyandry are also exhibited by these birds. The species has an extensive range and a massive population and hence does not face any threat.
Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus)
The Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) is a shearwater seabird native to Ukraine. The shearwater bird is medium sized with 30 to 38 centimeters in height. It has long wings, a black topside, and white underparts. The bird, similar to other species in the Order Procellariiformes, flies with stiff wings with a shearing flight technique when moving across waterfronts. This particular species is exhibit cruciform pattern in flight. This shearwater is mostly silent, and when it does call, the call is a loud series of howls, croons, and screams. After breeding, the species does not provide post-nesting care. Puffinus puffinus is entirely marine birds. The nests are made in burrows on small islands visited only at night. The flocks migrate in autumn. They are silent at sea but shriek at night in the breeding colonies. Egg laying starts in early May and lays only one egg per season. Both sexes incubate for 47 to 55 days. After 60 days parents fly off. Most males return to nests they hatched in while females move on to new lands. The Puffinus puffinus diet consists of small fish such as sprats, sand seals, and herrings, surface offal, crustaceans, and cephalopods. The Shearwater catches prey off the surface, sometimes through a pursuit-diving, and when foraging, they do so alone or in small flocks.
Yellow-Billed Loon (Gavia Adamsii)
The yellow-billed loon (Gavia Adamsii) is the largest species of the diver family. Their breeding ranges include Ukraine, Russia, Canada, and Alaska. In winter they nest on the northern coasts of the Pacific. Yellow-billed loons live in the freshwater and saltwater coastlines in low-lying tundra regions. They prefer shorelines for nesting as they fish in shallow waters. The species has distinctive white and yellow stripes running across the chest and neck. They have large spots on their backs than other members of their order. The head and bill are in a tilted-up position. When not breeding they have a brown background. The legs, found in the very rear part of the body are adapted to pushing water rather than walk and also allow them to take flight from land. Gavia Adamsii chick is similar to adults but paler. Breeding starts in late May and the bird practices monogamy. Copulation lasts 12 to 19 seconds, and both sexes take turns to incubate that lasts one month. The chicks swim from the time they hatch and within 55 days they fledge. After four years the life cycle starts again. Yellow-billed birds are diurnal birds that swim, dive, fly, and hunt fish. They love to sleep, roost, sunbathe and take care of themselves. They arrange their feathers every time they are out of place. They splash water repeatedly when bathing and stretch their legs out of the water when resting.
The native bird species of Ukraine extend over a great deal of other habitat ranges across Europe, the northern Pacific Coastline, and northwestern Africa. As such, these species are generally not endangered.
The Native Birds Of Ukraine
|Native Birds of Ukraine||Scientific Name|
|Yellow-billed loon||Gavia adamsii|
|Rock petronia||Petronia petronia|
|Manx shearwater||Puffinus puffinus|
|Snow bunting||Plectrophenax nivalis|
|Eurasian three-toed woodpecker||Picoides tridactylus|
|Calandra lark||Melanocorypha calandra|
|European roller||Coracias garrulus|
|Tawny pipit||Anthus campestris|
|Eurasian oystercatcher||Haematopus ostralegus|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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