(lat. Rallidae) is a large family of small and medium-sized birds from the order crane-like.
The size and weight varies from 12-13 cm and 40 g in the white-winged mole (Porzana exquisitus
) up to 59-63 cm and 2-3.2 kg in the giant coot (
) and takahe (
Almost all birds of this family live near water bodies and in wetlands, among the exceptions is the corncrake, which nests in the area of agricultural land.
Typical representatives of this family settle among the dense vegetation of the lower layer in the area of lakes, rivers or swamps. Few comparatively primitive species inhabit tropical rainforests. In particular, thickets of reeds, sedges or reeds can be distinguished from favorite habitats. In general, birds of this family lead a rather secretive, often nocturnal or crepuscular lifestyle, avoid open spaces and are difficult to see.
Most species run quickly and confidently on soft, muddy soil thanks to their strong legs with long toes that reduce the stress on the ground. Coots have scalloped swimming blades on their feet on the sides of the toes, which indicates its predominantly aquatic lifestyle. Shepherd's wings, as a rule, are short and rounded; birds rarely fly, but if necessary, they are able to overcome a considerable distance. The species that live on the islands often stop flying altogether, and for this reason, many of them are now extinct, as they were unable to defend against ground enemies such as cats, rats and pigs.
As a rule, the body of shepherds is slightly flattened on the sides - this, as well as the more flexible spine in comparison with other birds, allows them to maneuver better in thickets of reeds or other dense coastal vegetation. The tails of all bird species are short and soft, usually raised upward, almost all of them have a white undertail. A white, orange or red shield can often be seen on the forehead, which protects the bird's head from injury. The plumage is soft and loose, molting occurs twice a year - during the full postnuptial period, the ability to fly is temporarily lost. Sexual dimorphism (visible differences between the sexes) is not expressed in most (with the exception of four) species, except that males are slightly larger than females. A characteristic feature of the family is the uniform twitching of the tail and shaking of the head when walking and while swimming.
Nocturnal activity and limited visibility in thickets led to the fact that these birds have a well-developed vocal communication with each other. These are quite noisy birds, their varied and not always euphonious singing is well heard outside of their habitats. Shepherds are omnivorous birds that feed on both plant and animal food, sometimes hunt for other birds and their eggs, reptiles, amphibians, fish and small rodents. In general, animal food is typical for small species, and plant food for large species, although there are exceptions.
Shepherd chicks - brood or semi-brood type, having hatched, they do not linger in the nest for a long time. After a day or two, and in large species after 3-4 days, the female begins to take the chicks for a walk, each time returning back. At first, only the mother takes care of the chicks, and the father is engaged in the production of food. Subsequently, both parents participate in the brood of chicks.
Shepherds are widespread throughout the world, absent only in the arctic and subarctic regions, Antarctica and large deserts. The most biodiversity is observed in the tropics and subtropics, in the taiga zone of the northern hemisphere and on the subarctic islands, only a few species are seen. A distinctive feature of shepherds is their ability to penetrate even the most remote islands, despite the fact that they fly rarely and badly.
On the territory of Russia, shepherds are represented by 14 species from 9 genera, 11 of which nest. There are reports of single visits from the territory of North America of the Carolina chase (Porzana carolina
). Cases of nesting of horned moorhen (
) and white-breasted pogonus are considered unproven yet. The Red Book of Russia includes species of horned moorhen, sultanka (
) and red-footed chase (
In the shepherd family (Rallidae) there are 34 modern genera and 6 more extinct over the past 4 centuries:
Outwardly, it looks like a small pug, but its paws are flesh-colored. Also noteworthy are the longitudinal black stripes on the sides and the absence of a red spot at the base of the beak.
The length of the bird is 17 - 19 cm, the wingspan is, depending on the subspecies, 23 - 35 cm. The male can weigh 17 - 55 g, the female 23 - 45 g.
The crumbling chase nests in dense vegetation in sedge bumps or on floats among reeds and cattails with shallow water and clean reach. Nest is built from dry stems above water. Full clutch contains 6 - 9 yellowish-gray eggs with reddish spots. From the eggs laid in May or June, chicks hatch, which can fly after about 5 weeks. Both parents are involved in raising the brood.
It feeds on various small insects and their larvae, seeds of herbaceous plants. in search of food in the early morning and early evening until dawn, they run along floating reed stalks, leaves or simply on the surface of the water, making wide, quick steps and often flapping their wings.
The name of the mineral is a direct association with the greatest river of the American continent and the Scythian tribe.
The Amazons really revered the turquoise stone. During the excavation of Scythian burial mounds, elements of weapons and decor with this gem were found. It is no coincidence that the mineral is known as the "stone of the Amazons".
The antiquity of the stone is evidenced by its discovery among the treasures of the tomb of Tutankhamun - one of the most charismatic pharaohs-rulers of Ancient Egypt.
For Europeans, the history of stone dates back to the 18th century. Two and a half centuries ago, a handful of turquoise pebbles from the shores of the Amazon were brought to the continent by the Frenchman Rome de Lisle. He christened the find "Amazonian stones." Almost a hundred years later, this cumbersome name was replaced by the term "amazonite", coined by A. Breithaut.
The stone is also known as "Colorado" or "Amazonian" jade.
The origin of amazonite is magmatic. It forms in pegmatite veins and granites.
Coarse-grained agglomerates, veins, and inclusions of arbitrary shape are more often formed. Crystals are rare. As well as uniformly colored specimens. Almost always, amazonite is a blue or turquoise agglomerate with a patterned surface.
This description of the stone gives rise to misunderstandings: amazonite is often confused with jade and turquoise... They really have similar texture, density, color. These are more expensive gems, but they look harmonious in jewelry with the "Amazon stone".
Place of Birth
The first deposit of amazonite was not the Amazon, but the Russian Urals. In the Ilmen mountains, deposits of turquoise stone were discovered at the border of the 18th-19th centuries.
Today, the mineral is mined on almost all continents:
- Europe - Norway, Finland, Ukraine, Italy,
- Asia - Mongolia, India, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan,
- Africa - Madagascar, Egypt, South Africa,
- America - USA, Canada, Peru, Brazil,
In Russia, in addition to the Urals, the Eastern Sayan Mountains, the vicinity of Lake Baikal, and the Kola Peninsula are rich in amazonite.
The most beautiful are turquoise stones from India, the Americas and Africa.
In Finland, microcline-bertite (an orangey-pink decorative variety) is mined.
Amazonite is a blue-green variety of microcline potassium feldspar.
|Formula||(K, Na) AlSi3O8|
|Transparency||shines through at the edges|
|Hardness||6 — 6,5|
|Cleavage||perfect on (001) and (010)|
|Density||2.54 - 2.57 g / cm³|
When heated to 310–550 ° C, it becomes discolored, but the color is restored by radiation, X-rays, or after a long stay in the dark. If the temperature is above 600 ° C, the color is lost forever.
Varieties of amazonite
Amazonite owes its bluish-green tint to water and the dominance of lead impurities in the composition. This is the basic range. There are specimens with an admixture of yellowness, turquoise, darkish, just white or gray. Agglomerates with brownishness are considered rare.
Mineralogists distinguish two types of amazonite:
- Fine pertite. The pattern against the background of a bluish-green color is not particularly pronounced, sometimes a slight silvery is noticeable.
- Large pertite. The pattern of whitish lines is clear, contrasting well with the turquoise blue background. It shines through in thin chips, sometimes pearlescent reflections are observed.
The mineral that forms a white or slightly pinkish pattern on the surface is albite. These outgrowths are elongated, cordlike, 2–29 mm long and 1–3 mm wide.
Where is the mineral used
According to the jewelry classification, amazonite is an ornamental stone. The scope of application is determined by the characteristics of the stone. Depending on the quality, type, it is decorative and applied art, jewelry or mineralogical collection.
Amazonite has been used as a decorative material in Russia for almost three centuries, after the discovery of deposits in the Ilmen mountains:
- In the palaces and dwellings of the nobility, they are faced with panels, fireplaces.
- Tabletops and large vases, created by masters of a lapidary factory in Peterhof, are carved from the mineral. The method by which they are performed is known throughout the world as "Russian mosaic". It represents pieces of stone skillfully selected into a pattern or picture.
- The best examples have become the property of the Hermitage and other museums in the country. A collection of amazonite buttons for ceremonial uniforms is also exhibited here.
Amazonite is used in the map of the USSR, laid out from minerals.
Smaller items are infinitely varied: boxes, candelabra, photo frames, table sets, dishes. This is a public assortment that brightens life.
Since the 18th century, amazonite has appeared in Russia as "emerald edelspar" and has been used to make beads, necklaces, brooches, rings, cufflinks, rings, and pendants.
Despite its medium hardness, the mineral is popular:
- A full range of jewelry is made from it.
- In jewelry, they are framed with silver, jewelry alloy, cupronickel, valuable tree species (ebony, teak, others).
- Beads and necklaces are often made of multicolored microcline, known as the amazonite multicolor brand. In addition to rich blue, there are greenish, pink, brownish, pale bluish pebbles. This diversifies the blue range, therefore, amazonite is rarely combined with other stones. An exception is made for options with turquoise, rose quartz, jade and labradorite.
- Almost always, the stone is turned into a cabochon: this treatment best shows iridescence (reflections on the surface). The effect can be obtained by polishing, but skill is needed.
Jewelry with amazonite looks presentable. Suitable for people of any age and gender. They can be worn in the office, on a walk, put on for friendly gatherings.
Well or fancifully formed crystals of unusual color, aggregates, druses are an expensive collection material. The goal of the collectors is the selection of specimens from deposits of all continents and the maximum color gamut.
The ornamental mineral amazonite is financially available to everyone.
Jewelry framed with jewelry alloy or medical steel looks more expensive than it actually costs (rubles):
- rings - 400+,
- earrings - 650+,
- pendants - 150+.
Beads or bracelets go at 390-3 590, depending on the diameter of the bead, the length of the thread and the deposit. For example, the cost of stones from Peru is higher than that of the Ural or Asian.
Silver assortment (rub.):
- earrings - 1 520-2 100,
- ring - 1 200-1 600,
- set "ring + earrings" - 3 300-5 200,
- brooch - 1 750-2 250.
More often hand-made masters are engaged in amazonite. For large companies, such products are an exception.
Crafts are also available (rub.):
- amazonite ball (53-105 mm) - 4 170-14 300,
- egg (40–55 mm) - 2,200.
The collection material is assessed based on the type, size, condition of the stone plus the deposit (rubles / piece):
- pebbles (2.5-5 cm) - 270-460,
- aggregate of crystals (33x34x32 mm, Colorado) - 2,550,
- crystal (44x18x35 mm, Kola Peninsula) - 460.
However, the range of Internet sites is small, interesting items are scattered regardless of the price.
How to care for a stone
Amazonite is dense and tough, but still vulnerable.
You need to take care of the stone carefully:
- The dirt is removed with soapy water (you can pre-soak it). Rinse and immediately wipe dry with a soft cloth so that no water stains remain on the surface of the stone.
- From time to time the pebble is "walked" in the sun to recharge and refresh.
- Jewelry (especially a ring or bracelet) is removed before washing dishes, floors, and other household chores.
- You do not need to wear them for sports training, events involving physical activity: for amazonite, sweat is destructive.
- From extreme heat or cold, the mineral will crack.
- Products with amazonite are put on after applying the make-up.
It is better to store jewelry in a separate box or together with minerals of similar hardness. However, the box is not placed near heating devices or other heat sources: the mineral will fade.
How to identify a fake
Amazonite is financially available to everyone, but they are trying to replace it with even cheaper plastic.
The properties inherent in minerals in general and amazonite in particular help to distinguish a real stone from a fake:
- Surface. Natural amazonite blue-white, patterning is not ordered, but it looks harmonious. White fragments should be 38–40%. The repetition of elements or a mismatch in the pattern means a fake.
- Hardness. Amazonite has above average, it is stronger to the touch than plastic. The mineral is more difficult to damage.
- Massiveness. Natural stone is always heavier than plastic.
- Density. Real amazonite is never transparent; it is translucent only in thin plates. The easiest way to test this property is by looking at a pebble in the bright sun.
Finally, the classic way for minerals to establish authenticity is to hold it in your hands. If it warms up almost immediately, it is a fake.
Amazonite activates the ability to clairvoyance and serves as a channel for communication with spirits. This is a traditional attribute of shamans, sorcerers, magicians.
For ordinary citizens, the magical properties of the stone are also useful:
- a person will be able to see a prophetic dream (by placing a stone under the pillow),
- develop intuition with the help of the mineral,
- become bolder, more self-confident,
- rely only on yourself, make decisions on your own,
- the stone nullifies unreasonable anxiety, bad thoughts,
- serves as an amulet against evil forces (physical and mental),
- smoothes out negative character traits (selfishness, irascibility, pride),
- suitable for establishing contacts with the environment, especially in a new team.
The value of the amazonite stone will be appreciated by persons prone to self-digging and excessive self-criticism. The gem will teach you to love and appreciate yourself.
The stone of the Amazons is a "lunar" mineral, an ideal companion for ladies. Even an avid feminist or childfree, wearing a ring or earrings with amazonite, will think about the true purpose of a woman: motherhood, affection, marriage. At the same time, the talisman will attract luck to the mistress, recharge for great achievements.
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the stone as a family and conjugal amulet against quarrels, scandals, betrayals. This is the keeper of the warmth of relationships, even in a long-term marriage.The magic of the talisman will "make" the owner realize the value of his home, the need to sometimes sacrifice for the sake of general well-being.
Lithotherapists have studied and are using the healing properties of the "Amazons" stone. The stone heals the body as a whole.
The properties of amazonite are also beneficial for special cases:
- Relieves mood swings, depression, mental anguish. The person becomes calmer, sleeps better.
- The stone accelerates cell regeneration, it is "prescribed" for people who have undergone surgery, in case of injuries or fractures.
- Mineral massage prevents vein problems.
- Beads or massage of diseased parts of the body with pieces of stone relieves the condition of arthritis, rheumatism, osteochondrosis.
- Jewelry with a stone is worn for endocrine ailments (especially of the thyroid gland) or throat.
- With amazonite, it is easier to neutralize the pathology of the genitourinary system.
- Ingestion of amazonite, ground to powder, inhibits the spread of cancer.
Lithotherapists say: untreated amazonite near a TV, computer or other gadget creates a protective barrier that cuts off radiation.
The description of the healing capabilities of the stone includes the solution of aesthetic problems:
- inhibits aging,
- relieves excess weight (optimizing metabolism plus stimulating the production of enzymes that break down fats),
- strengthens hair, teeth, nails,
- makes the skin healthy and beautiful: removes rashes, pigmentation, cellulite.
Massage with amazonite plates or balls rejuvenates the skin and the body as a whole. If there is no time for the procedure, wearing a necklace or bracelet will do.
The darker the amazonite, the stronger as magical or healing. For a person, this means a greater effect when using a stone.
Amazonite and the Zodiac
Amazonite is one of the few minerals suitable for almost all zodiac signs. Perhaps because there are several elements of the stone - Earth, Water, Ether.
According to the horoscope, the mineral has ideal compatibility with Taurus and Scorpio.
Compatibility table of amazonite with the signs of the zodiac ("+++" - fits perfectly, "+" - can be worn, "-" - absolutely contraindicated).
With such talismans, they will become physically healthier, wiser, more determined. The mineral evens out negative character traits, instead of strengthening the positive ones. It is especially suitable for those who wish to create a strong family or strengthen the marriage bond, attract luck and money.
The rest of the signs can also be used with a stone - the effect will be similar, although less pronounced.
It is not recommended to wear the mineral for Sagittarius: the problems will worsen.
Amazonite jewelry is versatile and presentable. No wonder the stone was appreciated by the Amazons and Pharaohs. Especially suitable for blue-eyed or green-eyed people. A good option for those who are financially unavailable for first-tier gems.
The healing and magical possibilities of the mineral will not leave indifferent adherents of esotericism and similar teachings.
The sizes of individual representatives of the order range from starling to goose. Their body is compressed from the sides and adapted for movement among thickets of dense vegetation, the wings and tail are very short. The most memorable aspect of the appearance of some shepherds - unusually long fingers, allowing birds to move around swampy places and climb reed stalks. Shepherdesses fly badly and reluctantly. Interestingly, many species that live on the islands have completely lost their ability to fly and have become very vulnerable. They turned out to be completely defenseless against predators and other animals imported by Europeans, they quickly became rare or completely disappeared.
Date: 1 August 2013, 904
To life form waterbirds include species from the orders of Charadriiformes (waders), cranes, ankles and shepherds... They are united by an attachment to wet habitats: the shores of reservoirs, swamps, damp meadows. Many of them feed, wandering in shallow water, splash zone, shallows. As a rule, these birds do not swim. They are all long-legged, and many still have long beaks, necks and toes.
The most numerous birds of this group are waders. These are mainly dim, rather mobile birds with long, sharp wings. The flying sandpiper seems larger than the sitting one. The flight of waders is fast and maneuverable. On the fly, they often scream melodiously. Feed on waders animal food - small invertebrates, worms, larvae, crustaceans, insects. Their main "tool" is a long soft beak rich in tactile receptors. With them, the sandpiper, like a probe, pierces the soil and gropes for food. The territory of the former Soviet Union is inhabited by 75 species of waders, many of which are objects of hunting. Waders - very cautious birds, and it is difficult to show them in nature.
The exception is lapwing - a large black-and-white sandpiper with a rather short beak and a crest on its head. Lapwings nest in plowed fields, damp meadows. They have little fear of humans and, screaming, fly directly overhead, especially near the nests. On the banks of the rivers it is sometimes found carrier - a small gray kulichflying from coast to coast low above the water with a characteristic frequent high whistle "sip-sip-sip-sip". On spring evenings, even in city parks with glades, one can observe cravings woodcocks.
Birds from the shepherd order are somewhat reminiscent of waders. They are distinguished by a laterally flattened body and very long toes compared even to waders. Many of them not only walk well on muddy soil and run between grass stems, but also move along floating leaves of aquatic plants. Their beak is shorter than that of waders, and is compressed from the sides.
The most common shepherd bird is landrail... He lives in damp meadows and river valleys. His double raspy cry is often heard in May - June at dawn. It is a very secretive bird and it is almost impossible to see it. Crake rarely and reluctantly takes off. He prefers to run away, deftly making his way between the stalks of grasses. This is probably the origin of the legend that the corncrake goes on foot to winter and back, making a flight only over the sea. This, of course, is not the case. The food of shepherds, like waders, is small invertebrates, less often plants.
Large waterbirds - herons, cranes, flamingos - have long legs and a long neck, can move in relatively deep places.
Looking for prey, they walk "knee-deep" in the water, small herons look out for the prey, sitting on branches above the water. Their prey is quite large - frogs, snakes, lizards, fish. The "trifle" (crustaceans) is caught only by flamingos, which have approximately the same way of feeding as that of anseriformes - filtering water through their beak and filtering food particles.
Gray heron is still quite common in the reservoirs of the middle zone. In flight, unlike a crane or a stork, it is characterized by an S-shaped folded neck.... Cranes - an ancient group of birds, many of which are listed in the International Regional Book. Almost all of them are inhabitants of deserted swamps, and only the Demoiselle crane prefers dry steppes. Cranes do not get used to human development of their original habitats.
White stork familiar to all. Its number varies greatly from year to year.
The nature and lifestyle of the moorhen
In most areas moorhen leads a sedentary lifestyle, but in the northern regions the weather forces them to migrate. The territory of the CIS countries is mainly inhabited by partially or completely migratory individuals. They arrange their nests in a quiet secluded area, away from relatives and other birds.
Has a frightened "character", but perfectly adapted legs for movement in swampy areas, allow her to run quickly. These are long and strong limbs, with elongated fingers, there are no membranes between them, like other waterfowl.
The wings also help to hide in thickets. The bird runs on the water, takes off, and after reaching the shelter, sits down. She moves well, during spring flights, she purposefully and quickly overcomes distances.
Individuals of the opposite sex outwardly practically do not differ from each other, just males are larger, and females have a slightly lighter abdomen. An interesting fact is the principle of pairing, their female sex fights for the right to possess a male. Individuals form families that remain for several years.