Appearance and behavior... The family unites small birds of a slender constitution with relatively long strong legs and a short, thin or only slightly thickened beak. Almost everyone is very mobile, representatives of different genera use different methods of movement with the help of legs (running, climbing, jumping in crowns) and wings (flying up, hovering in the air) and move along vegetation of various tiers - from grass stand to tree tops. Species identification in the field only by color and appearance is difficult, however, most of these birds are well identified by their voice, attention to the places and ways of their movement also helps in their identification.
general description... The color is usually dim, brownish, beige, olive, green and yellow tones. Sexual dimorphism in color is characteristic only for some species; males may be slightly larger than females. The change of plumage is relatively simple, usually the autumn plumage differs from the breeding one in slightly more saturated tones, young birds differ slightly in color from adults.
Lifestyle... They inhabit all layers of vegetation in open, near-water, forest and forest biotopes. All the species we meet are migratory birds, most of them in the spring arrive to us later than other passerines. They feed on insects, which are collected on the ground, on the surface of plants or caught in flight, like flycatchers, warblers and some warblers also feed on berries in late summer and autumn. They nest in separate pairs, males actively sing at the beginning of the breeding season or until its end. Most are monogamous species, but there are frequent cases of polygyny (in which a male simultaneously or sequentially combines with 2 or more females), there are also examples of polyandry (when, on the contrary, one female copulates alternately with two or more males). Songs are varied, with some species incorporating elements borrowed from other birds. Nests of various designs made of plant materials, often relatively large, are placed on the ground or on vegetation, but not in hollows and other shelters. Newborn chicks are naked or almost naked, that is, they have a small number of pushers on their heads and backs.
Family composition... The family unites, according to various estimates, up to 380 species of small passerine birds living in the Old World. Species traditionally included in the family are increasingly proposed to be considered as part of various families, in particular, to combine the whitethroat of the genus Sylvia with thymelia (Timaliidae), the warblers should be allocated to the Phylloscopidae family, and crickets and warblers - to the Acrocephalidae family. We consider here warblers, crickets, warblers, warblers and warblers as representatives of the same family of warblers. On the territory of Russia, there are 56–62 species of this family (depending on the interpretation of the volume of some species), in its European part, 37 species from 6 genera are recorded, 28 of them are nesting. The features of birds, typical for each of the genera, are given in the descriptions of their first representatives.
Origin of the species and description
At the origins of the white-breasted population, there are ancient bear individuals, from which all modern bears descended. White-breasted bears are much smaller in size than brown bears, but differ from them in the most fit constitution.
The life span of bear individuals is no more than 27 years. The maximum lifespan of a lunar bear in captivity is 30 years.
Appearance and features
The head of an adult is relatively small, with a long, narrow muzzle and large, wide-set, funnel-shaped ears. The animal's coat is long, with a thick white spot on the chest in the form of the letter "V". The wide croup of the animal is much larger than the withers.
Large claws in adults are strong, strongly curled and pointed.Feet, especially forefeet, very powerful, strong and longer than hind legs. Bears have 42 teeth in total.
The individuality of this type is insufficiently expressed. The fur is shiny, black, on the chest there is a snow-white or yellow V-shaped speck, which is why the animal is called white-breasted. The body length of an adult male is 150-160 cm, sometimes up to 200 cm. Females are smaller, up to 130-140 cm long.
Where does the white-breasted bear live?
The geographic habitat of moon bears is associated with the presence of wild tropical and subtropical deciduous forests. Animals live in virgin cedar and deciduous Manchu forests, oak groves and cedar groves, in groves with Manchu nuts or Mongolian oaks.
These thickets are distinguished by a variety of nuts, various berries and other fruits - the main diet of the moon bear. In the highlands, animals live in the hot summer season, by winter they sink lower, into the warmer plain thickets.
A significant part of the territory of the white-breasted bear extends to East Asia. Animals come across in other warm countries: China, Afghanistan, the Himalayas, Indochina, Korea, Japan. In the Russian Federation, Himalayan individuals live only in the Ussuri region and in the Amur region. The animal can be found high in the mountains, at an altitude of over 3000 km.
The habitat of the white-breasted woman in the Russian Federation completely coincides with the area of distribution of broad-leaved, oak and cedar forests.
What does a white-breasted bear eat?
The menu of Himalayan bears is dominated by lean food:
- ordinary nuts, hazel,
- oak acorn and pine nut,
- different berry sweet fruits,
- herbal plants, buds or leaves of trees.
Bears love bird cherry and raspberry berries. With an abundant harvest, animals concentrate in the floodplains of rivers and springs and enjoy sweet berries with pleasure. Often bears devastate apiaries, in some cases a stolen hive is covered by a bear in the water to neutralize the bees.
Bears often consume animal food - small insects, worms, larvae. Even in a hungry spring, after waking up from hibernation, white breasts do not prey, do not fish, but do not neglect carrion. Sometimes bears may attempt to attack wild horses or livestock. Bears can be dangerous for humans too.
Features of character and lifestyle
The Himalayan bear is a wonderful tree frog, pursuing a semi-arboreal way of existence. The lunar beast spends more than 50% of its life on the tops of trees. There he trades, obtaining his own food, escaping from opponents and annoying gnat.
It costs nothing for a bear to climb to the top of a large tree, up to 30 m high in 3-4 seconds. From a height of 6-7 meters, the beast jumps easily, without hesitation. Climbing on the crowns of large cedars, the animal sits on thick branches. Breaking off the branches around itself and eating tasty fruits from them, the animal gets its food. The clever animal does not throw out the gnawed branches, but lays it under itself, like a bedding. The result is a cozy nest that you can use for an afternoon nap in a safe place.
When meeting a person, the animal slowly moves away, episodes of hostile behavior are rare. Bears never accidentally attack humans. After shots and wounds, he often runs away, but can decisively rush to his offender. The she-bears, protecting the cubs, aggressively make threatening attacks to the side of the person, however, they bring the attack to an end only if the person escapes. This type has significant physical strength and good mobility.
White-breasted bears behave like ordinary bears in hibernation:
- they do not excrete urine or feces,
- during hibernation, the heart rate decreases from 40-70 to 8-12 beats per minute,
- metabolic processes are reduced by 50%,
- body temperature drops by 3-7 degrees Celsius, so the bear is able to wake up without difficulty.
At the end of the winter period, males lose up to 15-30% of their weight, and females lose up to 40%. Bears leave the den approximately in the 2nd mid-April.
The white-breasted bear has a wonderful memory, he remembers good and bad well. And the spectrum of mood is very wide - from peaceful quiet to extremely agitated and angry.
Social structure and reproduction
White-breasted bears communicate with each other using a loud voice. If the cubs are isolated from their own mothers, they make a cry of appeal. Low guttural sounds can be a sign of discontent with the toptygin, and simultaneously with the clicking of teeth - his hostility.
The Himalayan animal often spends all winter hibernation in the hollows of large trees. More convenient for wintering are large hollows in large trunks of poplars or lindens. Access to such a lair is at least 5 m from the soil. According to the weight of an adult bear, suitable trees should be at least 90 cm across.
Less often, when there are no large trees or they have been cut down, the bear can hibernate in other suitable hidden places:
- in holes under the roots of trees,
- in large nests built under the trunks of fallen trees,
- in rocky caves, crevices or grottoes.
The Ussuri bear is characterized by seasonal movements of the wintering site to deciduous forests and back, while the transitions take place by the same routes. Wintering is concentrated in areas separated by large watersheds. Most often, a winter den is located within a personal plot, and near the den, a white-breasted bear seeks to confuse the tracks so as not to give away its location.
In addition to the mating season, lunar bears lead an isolated existence, from time to time accumulating in several individuals in areas with abundant food. Among the white-breasted women, some social hierarchy can be traced, associated with different ages and weight of males. This is especially evident during the mating season. Those of young males, whose weight is less than 80 kilograms, have almost no chance of copulating with females.
Bears often make optical contact with each other when they show their own dominant or subservient status by postures and movements. To determine subservient status, the bear retreats, sits down or lies down. To prove its own dominant position, the bear goes forward or runs up towards the opponent.
To interact with other white-breasted bears, animals use their own keen sense of smell. Animals make their marks: urinate on tree trunks or scratch, rub against tree trunks. Animals do this in order to keep their own scent on them. The opponent immediately learns the owner of the territory and will go home. Private areas can be 5-20 or even 35 square meters. km. It depends on the availability of food on site. The more and more varied the forage, the smaller the area.
The white-breasted bear is a polygamous creature. Females enter mating periods at random intervals. Therefore, copulation can occur with different males within 10-30 days. Couples arise for a short period of time.
The breeding season lasts from mid June to mid August. The young generation of animals reaches sexual maturity at the age of 3 years, but numerous females often remain without offspring. Pregnancy lasts 7-8 months. The female usually brings up to 2 cubs in late December or mid-January. Cubs weighing 250-350 grams appear, they form for a long time and even at the age of 2 months are absolutely defenseless. Babies finish feeding on milk at 3.5 months.
Natural enemies of the white-breasted bear
Large wolves, tigers, brown bears are the enemies of white-breasted bears. The most dangerous is the tiger, from the claws of which it is difficult to get out alive.But the destruction of Himalayan bears by predators is very rare, since bears are very strong animals and are able to give a worthy rebuff to any predator. The decline in the number of Himalayan bears is considered only the result of human activity.
Population and status of the species
At a relatively low rate of reproduction of white-breasted bears, there is a constant decline in the population size. Females give the first offspring only for 3-4 years of existence. No more than 35% of females take part in reproduction every year. Each excess of the fishing load leads to a rapid decrease in the population. Also, fires, numerous logging and poaching lead to a decrease in the population.
The white-breasted bear is a valuable object for illegal hunting by poachers. It is often shot for costly bile and tasty bear meat. White-breasted bears are often killed for their beautiful hides and valuable fur.
Protection of the white-breasted bear
The lunar beast is listed in the Red Book of Russia in 1983. Since 1977, fishing with the Himalayans has been prohibited. The population concentration is 7-9 individuals per 100 sq. km, however, human economic activity is increasingly forcing the bear to move to the worst habitats. In winter, hunters often cut down trees suitable for animals, which leads to a decrease in hollow trunks. In numerous regions, the number of white-breasted bears has now decreased due to the lack of wintering areas.
The number of Ussuri bears in the 80s was 6,000 - 8,000, in Primorye - 4,000 - 5,000. Its number continued to decrease in subsequent years. It was found that each year these animals decrease by 4-4.6%. This happens even in protected areas, despite immigration in the fall from neighboring lands.
Poaching causes the greatest harm to bear populations. Especially harmful is the shooting of females with cubs, the total share of which in the prey exceeds 80%. All babies are captured together with the uterus.
Deforestation of wild forests, especially cedar and deciduous, forest fires and human activities deprive white-breasted bears of their main habitats, pushing them to lands with the worst forage and protective conditions. Cutting down hollow trees deprives animals of more practical and safe winter shelters. The decrease in the number of reliable nests increases the death of white-breasted bears from enemy predators. Licensed fishing has been introduced in Primorskaya since 1975, and moon bear fishing has been completely prohibited since 1983. In Khabarovsk, since the 80s, a complete embargo has been established on catching an animal.
In the late 60s, the total number of Himalayan bears in Russia was 5-7 thousand individuals. In the 80s, the number of this animal was estimated at 4.5-5.5 thousand heads. Amur zone: 25-50 individuals. Jewish - the number of this type ranges from 150 to 250 heads. Khabarovsk region up to 3 thousand individuals. In the Primorsky region, the number of individuals was estimated from 2.5 to 2.8 thousand heads. The total number in the Russian Federation is estimated at 5000 - 6000 individuals. Himalayan white-chested bear needs active protection from poachers and complete destruction of the population.