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Bird hawker: description, habitat and interesting facts

Shalashnik is a bird belonging to the family of passerines, that is, the closest relative of this bird is an ordinary sparrow. However, unlike sparrows, hikers do not live in temperate latitudes, preferring to them the tropics and equatorial jungles of Australia and New Guinea.


Externally the bower birds, or huts, remotely resemble our sparrows, but the differences are still quite large.

So, females really are similar to them, because they have a meager, faint color of dark shades of gray and brown colors with slight overflows of green and blue. They are also covered with black specks.

The males are very different in appearance from females. They have almost monochromatic bright black feathers, which in the light shimmer with blue and blue colors. In general, the color of birds is not too bright. However, the males of many species have hollows on their heads. Shalashniki are notable for their appearance, but for their behavior. In general, in comparison with most tropical species of birds, hikers are quite modest in color and appearance in general.

Dimensions of the hut (poultry) are small. In length they reach about 20-35 cm. Males are slightly larger than females. On the territory of Australia and New Guinea, there are almost twenty species of this bird, the total number of genera of birds is only eight.

Features of appearance

As already mentioned above, females have a color of feathers, where a greenish tint prevails, and males are darker, with a predominance of bluish shades. As for chicks, they, as a rule, at birth have the same color as their mother.

As the nestlings mature, their color can vary greatly and become not only brighter than that of the mother, but even more catchy than the coloring of their father.

Bird hawk: lifestyle

Males and females of this species are polygamous by nature, having several partners. In this case, males achieve the location of females in various ways, one of the main are marriage dances. Bird hikers during the current attract the opposite sex, not only with the help of dance.

The main way to get the location of the female is the nest, due to which they are called the birds-hikers. Nests males build from branches, leaves and other small objects that can be found in the forest.

From improvised means, they build absolutely unprecedented nests, which sometimes have a very unusual shape. They are located directly on the ground and most often have a form in the form of a hut or something that resembles an arch.

As a rule, the hut is decorated with various bright objects to attract as much attention as possible. It can be berries, fruits, mushrooms and flowers. Any bright object can go for decorating a home. The brighter the hut, the more chances of success.

Although these huts are often mistaken for bird nests, in fact it is not. This place is intended exclusively for mating, and directly nests for rearing offspring are arranged on trees.

Bird hiker. Interesting Facts

An interesting fact is that the European colonizers, who first arrived in Australia, were extremely surprised to see huts of uncertain origin in the forest. For a long time no one could understand what it was and why.

Various theories of their origin were put forward, because, of course, it never occurred to anyone that such facilities could be made by birds. The most common assumption was the opinion of Captain Stokes, who thought that the huts were the work of local residents who made them for the entertainment of their children.

There was also the opinion put forward by the Governor, Sir George Gray, who believed that the huts were building kangaroos. It is not known what exactly was guided by Gray, putting forward such an assumption. Most likely, kangaroos seemed so strange to him that he believed they could do anything.


The natural habitat for birds are the tropical forests of the north-eastern part of Australia and New Guinea. Therefore, it is not surprising that deforestation is the main environmental problem for poultry.

This problem is acute for the Australian government today, because it affects not only hikers, but also many other endemic animals of the continent.

Of course, in addition to reducing the natural habitat of birds, there are other problems. For example, air pollution, which also has a negative impact on birds. First of all, this affects the reproduction of animals that have become much smaller in producing offspring than before.


Sexual maturity in male batsmen comes about at the age of 6-7 years. Females mature much faster and are already ready for mating and breeding in 2-3 years.

The mating period in birds lasts about one and a half to two months in the interval from October to December, when the spring is in the southern hemisphere of the Earth.

At one time the female haremaker can lay up to three eggs (usually 1-2), and the incubation process takes about three weeks. Then comes the period of feeding. The female grows chicks alone, the male does not take part in their upbringing.

Within two months the chicks learn to fly and leave the nest, starting to lead an independent adult life. They are already completely ready for life outside the parent's nest. However, they will not be able to multiply soon, therefore the population of these birds grows extremely slowly, and in connection with eco-problems the number of birds is constantly decreasing.

In natural conditions, the life expectancy of birds of hikers is, as a rule, about 8-10 years. In zoos and other places where birds are under human observation, they can live much more.


Shalashniki are unique birds that are found only on the territory of one continent. Their behavior is also unusual, since such structures are not built by almost anyone in the animal kingdom.

The exotic nature of this bird makes it very interesting for studying ornithologists from around the world, therefore, scientists from all over the world regularly come to Australia and New Guinea to conduct observations and study hikers.

Because of not the best ecological situation, the population of these birds is rapidly declining. The authorities of the country are actively struggling with this problem, but the situation of birds is still quite critical. Today, many zoos and ornithological centers are happy to get into their list of these birds.

Perhaps, the complex of measures carried out by various state and private structures to save these species will lead to the fact that the birds will cease to be on the verge of extinction, and their populations will stabilize.

It is difficult to imagine how important the existence, and therefore, the preservation of this species of birds, because this is an endemic animal.

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