Bird Families

Lesser variegated chest is a secretive and poorly studied representative of the cricket family from the avifauna of southern Eastern Siberia

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Small Pied Breast

Lesser variegated chest is a secretive and poorly studied member of the cricket family from the avifauna of southern Eastern Siberia.

1. Taxonomy

The small breasts of Siberia were traditionally referred to the species Tribura thoracica Blyth, 1845 other combinations: Bradypterus thoracicus or Locustella thoracica, represented by four subspecies T. th. thoracicus, T. th. shanensis, T. th. kashmirensis and T. th. przevalskii in southern China and on the southern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The nesting area of ​​the southern form is separated from the area of ​​the northern one. However, the southern form of the species differs significantly from the Siberian one in overall size, the southern forms are much larger and in body proportions, and they also differ very much in songs. Therefore, it was proposed to consider the northern group of subspecies suschkini and davidi as a separate species of Tribura davidi, while the nomen thoracica is assigned to birds of southern China.

Later, both species were transferred to the genus Locustella crickets.

Thus, the species Locustella davidi with two subspecies lives on the territory of Russia:

  • Locustella davidi suschkini Stegmann 1929 - from Altai east to Baikal.
  • Locustella davidi La Touche, 1923 - from Baikal east to the lower Amur,

2. Description

The back, wings and tail are dark brown in color. A reddish-brown tint appears on the back, the top of the head is brownish-grayish. The bottom of the body is whitish, the undertail is reddish-brown with whitish spots. Craw and breast have dark brown longitudinal streaks.

3. Distribution

The area stretches from the foothills of the northern Altai, the Lebed river, the Abakan basin and the northern foot of the Western Sayan, the Kyzyr-su river, the southern Baikal region of Kultuk to the upper Amur basin. In Transbaikalia, it is known from the vicinity of Chita, Nerchinsk. Marked on the ridge. Greater Khingan in China and in the Zhili province. By 2010, inhabited the Pogranichny Ridge of Primorye, also the Black Mountains.

Along the river valleys it rises into the mountains up to heights of 1000 - 1200 m above sea level. In Altai, it settles along taiga edges and glades with thickets of birch, bird cherry and herbaceous vegetation. In the Sayan Mountains, it prefers mountain valleys along the taiga edges with their dense shrub undergrowth. In the Baikal region, it was observed in open meadows with dense herbaceous cover and scattered bushes and trees.

Winters in southern China.

4. Reproduction

Nest is built in heaps of brushwood and branches of fallen trees, densely sprouted with grass, at the base of dense stems of grass. The nest is round with a vault, reminiscent of the nest of warblers. The walls are composed of dry stems. The diameter of the socket at the inlet is 90 - 100 mm, the diameter at the sides is 70 - 90 mm, the height of the socket is 90 - 100 mm, the diameter of the inlet is 40 - 50 mm. Clutch of 4 - 6 white eggs with a slightly pink tint, covered with rare brownish-violet specks and specks, thickening towards the blunt end. Dimensions according to Dybowski's data are 16.7 - 19.5 × 13.7 - 11.5 mm. Both ends of the eggs are rounded. The female incubates very tightly, so that sometimes you can even catch her with your hands.

5. Behavior

Cautious bird. It sings day and night in the depths of the thickets, at the same time it raises its head, lowers its wings and stretches its tail horizontally.The song is monotonous, it consists of a sharp disyllabic or monosyllabic cry "trzi. Trzi".

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