Gogol is a genus of birds in the family of ducks with noticeable bright yellow, sometimes white eyes. In some regions they are also called hollows, because they arrange nests in hollows of tall trees located near water bodies. Read more about this species of birds, their features, species and content - below.
The birthplace of birds is North America. However, thanks to the chronicles, it is known that even in Kievan Rus, the Gogol was valued for fluff and grown in the lands. Phraseologism "go nogging" was formed by comparing a person with her. On land, she moves interestingly - throws her head back and walks slowly along the mess, as if presenting herself with a very important person.
Description and types
Ornithologists distinguish three types of ducks of this genus:
- Common Gogol.
- Lesser Gogol.
- Icelandic Gogol.
They differ from each other in the size of the beak, body weight and habitat.
A duck is very similar to an ordinary representative. Females, males and young animals of both species are indistinguishable, with the exception of the mating season. At this time, the "Icelander" head is covered with purple-violet feathers, an elongated white "spot" appears, which is larger than the usual one and in shape resembles a triangle with rounded corners. The female has a black beak in spring, the rest of the time it is colored in orange.
Most often found in vivo. This is a beautiful bird with contrast plumage. The head is large, the parietal region is elongated and pointed, it seems triangular. The neck is short. The beak is also short, high at the base, rounded and narrowed towards the end.
Eye color depends on age. In chicks, they are red in color until 2 years of age, then become golden yellow. The paws are short, so they can’t develop high speed on land. For the same reason, they prefer most to be in the water. The membranes on the paws are dense and colored in orange, in females they are paler - closer to yellow.
Coloring depends on the season. In spring, the drake is dressed up in a fashionable outfit in order to defeat the female with its appearance. Snow-white feathers cover the stomach, sides, neck, and they are also under and above the tail. Contrasting black pigtails are located diagonally in the upper part of the wing. Head and back - saturated black with a greenish overflow, which is clearly visible in the sun. White “coins” appear near the base of the beak. The wings are covered with brown-black or dark gray feathers. The tail is black, casting greens.
In the rest of the time, the drake after molting has the same coloration as the female and the young. The duck's outfit looks much more modest than the spring attire of the drake-dandies. In their color there are gray and brown tones. The back and sides are smoky, the belly is snow-white. The wings are darker - black and gray. Eyes faded yellow or white. The beak is gray; at the base it has a yellow or orange band. The brown head is “separated” from the body by a narrow white “collar”.
By weight, males are larger than females. On average, a male weighs from 750 g to 1.25 kg, a female - from 500 g to 1.18 kg. The body in length does not exceed 50 cm, wingspan - 65-85 cm.
In the ordinary gogol, some ornithologists distinguish two subspecies:
This is justified by the different size of the beak and mass in representatives of one species. More well-fed representatives belong to the American subspecies. Other experts consider the species monotypic, and the change in the size of the beak is associated with the influence of physical and geographical factors, in addition, these two subspecies are constantly mixed.
Small gogol is also similar in physique to an ordinary look, but significantly inferior in size. The weight of the small representative does not exceed 450 g, and the length is not more than 40 cm. The males have a black back, white sides and stomach. The occipital part and sides of the head are covered with snow-white feathers. Bill is dark gray, eyes are brown.
Females are nondescript. The abdomen, sides and chest are gray, the back is gray with a brown tint. The head is brown, a white spot under the eye.
Gogol refers to migratory birds. In the winter, they fly south or west of the nesting sites, on the coasts of the seas and large inland waters. Common nogs nest in the forest zone in Europe, Asia and North America, preferring coniferous forests. Some birds may be sedentary, but they all live in northwest Europe.
The range of Icelandic representatives is scattered. Some are located on the northwestern coast of the North American continent, others - on Labrador, are also found in Greenland and Iceland. Birds settle near lakes, bogs and rivers in forest areas.
Lesser Gogol is registered only in northern North America. In winter, he migrates to the south of the mainland USA and Mexico. Ducks prefer shallow water bodies near mixed forests, they avoid settling in the open tundra.
Sexual maturity in birds occurs in the second year of life. Early in spring - in March, when the thawed spots just appear, they return to the nesting sites in pairs or small flocks. Often, the female and male go to different latitudes for the winter, so they spend this time alone.
In the spring after arrival, courtship games begin. The drake, having changed into a new outfit, fluffs the plumage on her head and spreads her tail to attract the female. With his head thrown back, he begins to do "pirouettes." Sharply throwing his head up and forward, he pushes his body forward, creating a fountain of spray near him.
In April-May, the couple sets up a nest. It can be located in the hollow of pine, spruce, aspen or oak at an altitude of up to 15 m above the ground. When choosing a place, they prefer detached trees near water. Often occupied by old nests are yellow, rarely arrange them in the ground - in the hole of a hare, between the roots or voids of a stump. The female, if she is happy with everything, can use the nest for several years in a row. They do not guard the territory near it, but each pair has its own separate section of the water area.
A duck lays 5 to 13 eggs. Their shell is green with a bluish or brownish tint. At first she does not sit on the masonry all the time, from time to time she goes out to eat. Leaving the nest, she covers the eggs with the fluff plucked from her chest. The drake does not take any part in hatching. After the duck has settled on the masonry, he spends 9 days near it, and then flies away to the places of seasonal molting.
It also happens that in one nest two females lay eggs, in this case they remain unattended and the embryo dies in them.
Chicks hatch after 29-30 days of hatching. They are in a nest for 24 hours, where they dry well. Then they jump out of it for a duck to the ground. They land smoothly, parachuting with spread wings and membranes on their feet, and follow their mother to the pond. After 5-10 days, the ducklings become independent and live separately from it in small groups of 2-3 individuals.
Small gogol share the care of the future generation in half, hatching ducklings together.
Ducks feed on aquatic animals - small fish, insects, larvae, arthropods and mollusks. The plant component accounts for a small proportion. To their taste they come from algae, seeds and various roots of plants growing along the banks of water bodies. They get food from the bottom, diving to a depth of 4 or more meters and staying under water for more than 30 seconds. From the age of two weeks, ducklings already dive well and can independently feed themselves.
The population of gogol so far causes the least concern among specialists, but it is noted that it is still decreasing due to human activity.
At home, gogol is not common. For breeding, usually an ordinary bird species is used. If Gogol is chosen for breeding, then adhere to certain maintenance rules.
Conditions of detention
Since the gogol is a waterfowl and a wonderful diver, for the comfort in captivity, they must provide it with a pond, near which trees grow. In the absence of natural lakes and ponds, make an artificial pond. But this takes into account that 1 square. km of water coexist no more than 3 females. Otherwise, they will drive out competitors and drive them out of their territory.
On trees hang nests - hollows. They are placed at a height of more than four meters, so that no one disturbed the peace of the female. The socket should be 10-14 cm high and attached with an inclination forward. The bottom is left rough so that the chicks can independently get out of it. Letok do in the direction of water. Ideally, if there is a distance of no more than 10 m from the reservoir.
In the warm season, the birds feel great in the fresh air and do not need additional room. It is enough to make a canopy, which will protect them from scorching sunlight or rain. With the onset of cold weather, livestock are transferred to spacious houses. Since wild birds tolerate cold well, heating is not required in the barn. Enough of a simple warming of the house - they will caulk all the cracks, put on the floor a thick layer of straw litter. In the autumn-winter period they are provided with a long daylight hours of at least 14 hours using lamps.
The room is ventilated to avoid stagnation of air. Regular cleaning will help prevent the spread of diseases.
In nature, the gogol diet consists of 70% of animal and 30% of plant foods. In captivity they keep the same ratio. They are fed with tough varieties of buckwheat and barley, chopped fresh fish, bloodworms and crustaceans. Be sure to organize free access to clean water, and they also install containers with small pebbles or granular sand.
Females have a strong maternal instinct, they independently take care of their offspring. The best way to help them is to install the sockets. However, not all ducks like them, she decides where it is more comfortable for her to build a nest. Hogolate chicks grow quickly and have strong immunity.
They are grown only for the sake of eggs and fluff. Gogol’s meat, from the culinary point of view, is not of special value, since it has a specific aftertaste and smell. To reduce it, the carcass is cleaned not only of the skin, but also of fat. Before cooking, the meat is soaked for 24 hours in a marinade and fried on a spit or stewed. It is not suitable for cooking.
- Gogol able to dive to a depth of 11 m;
- the oldest gogol lived to be 14 years old;
- these ducks are aggressive during the nesting period; they can fearlessly attack those who have entered their territory;
- ducklings, leaving for their mother, can make a jump from a 15-meter height, while they learn to fly only by 57-66 days from birth;
- during the flight, birds emit a characteristic whistle, according to which they can be recognized even with their eyes closed.
The behavior of these ducks in nature is demonstrated in the video below:
Gogols are, for the most part, wild birds that do not like to live in captivity. If the farmer has decided to engage in their breeding, then he should less intervene in the life of birds, as the birds are independent. In the 80s they were listed in the Red Book, but now their population has increased.