Bird Families

Sula variegata

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Taxonomy of the Gannet family, boobies:

Brief description of the family

Gannets are seabirds of medium and large size (weight 1.5-5 kg). The body is elongated, the neck is short. The beak is elongated, conical. The edges of the mandible and mandible are slightly serrated. The opening of the mouth is large, extending beyond the eye. They can open their mouths very wide, swallowing large prey. The internal nostril chambers are not connected to each other, there are no external openings of the nostrils. Cervical vertebrae 16-18. The sternum and pelvis are lengthened. The base of the keel occupies only the anterior 2/3 of the sternum. The top of the fork is connected to the top of the keel by a sheaf. Skeleton highly pneumatic, well developed subcutaneous air cavities. The blind intestines are very small. The coccygeal gland with 5 excretory ducts. Only the right carotid artery is preserved. The outer finger is equal to or slightly longer than the middle one, the outer and middle fingers are longer than the inner one. The claws are wide and flat, the middle toe claw is serrated on the inside. The vocal muscles of the lower larynx are not developed. The well-developed subcutaneous pneumatic layer, especially on the ventral side, protects the bird from damage when diving from the flight, softening the impact on the water. The face, chin and middle of the throat are bare. The plumage of the lower leg does not slightly reach the calcaneal articulation. Plumage dense, thick. Most species coloration white with black flight feathers, young brown ones. Primary flywheels 10.The wing is long, relatively narrow; the apex of the wing is the first primary flight. Long wedge-shaped tail of 12-18 tail feathers.
Nest in colonies in hundreds and thousands of pairs on the slopes of the sea coasts, mainly on the islands. Nest - a carelessly scribbled pile of algae and coastal plants. In clutch there are 1, less often 2 bluish or greenish eggs. Incubate both partners within 6-7 weeks. Broken spots are not formed and the incubating bird heats the egg, covering it with the swimming membranes of the paws. Hatch chicks naked with black skin. After a few days, they are covered with white or light brownish down. The contour feather does not begin to open until 6-7 weeks after hatching. Fully fledged and flyable at 9-12 weeks of age.
Flight fast (up to 60-90 km / h), maneuverable, easy to move to planning. They can be in the air for a long time. They usually adhere to coasts and are not found far in the open oceans. Swim well. Feed on mainly by fish, less by large marine invertebrates. They are looking for food, soaring or flying 10-30 m above the sea surface and, noticing prey, dive at it, plunging into the water sometimes to a depth of 5 m. lengthening of the sternum, etc.
Boobies are sporadically distributed along the islands and seashores of the tropics and subtropics. Only one kind Sula bossana L. penetrates far north and breeds in Newfoundland and Iceland.
Center of origin families, apparently, the tropics. Most ancient fossil find - from the Oligocene deposits of France (fossil Sula ronzoni) .

Usage Information

Photo "Peruvian boobs, Sula variegata, on a cliff, Paracas, Peru" can be used for personal and commercial purposes according to the conditions of the purchased Royalty-free license. The image is available for download in high resolution quality up to 5616x3744.

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  • Location: Outside
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