STERNA ALBIFRONS (PALLAS, 1764) SMALL KRYCHKA, SMALL MORWENNOL
Short description. The smallest of morwennols, the size from a starling, but more graceful constitution with long narrow wings. Length of a body is 21 — 25 cm, wingspan of 47 — 55 cm, mass of 40 — 63 g. Differs from the river morwennol in the smaller sizes, a white forehead, during a reproduction season — a beak, yellow with a black tip.
Distribution. Europe (except its northern part), Forward, Central, Southern and Southeast Asia, northern part of Africa, the central part of the western Africa, the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the southern part of North America, island of the Caribbean Region, east coast of Australia. In the majority of regions the area which is broken off. In the territory of Belarus the look is widespread mainly in the southern part, meets in central and northern less often.
Habitats. Floodplains of the large and average rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds of fish farms and reservoirs of treatment facilities. The main requirement — existence of tongues of sand, pebble and sandy islands with rare xerophilous vegetation, nests also on the devastated meadows in floodplains of the rivers.
Biology. Nesting flying and tranzitno the migrating look. In the south of Belarus appears in places of nesting last decade of April, in the north a bit later. Nests small colonies on 10 — 50 couples, or separate couples as a part of colonies of river morwennols, small plovers, galstuchnik. The nest usually does not build, and uses small deepenings in sandy soil. In a full laying usually 3 (from 1 to 4) eggs the sizes on average 31,5 x 23,6 mm which coloring varies from sand till bluish-gray color with small dark brown and violet specks. Because of considerable death of layings and baby birds the nested season is extended — since the beginning of May prior to the beginning of July (occasionally layings can meet at the end of July). Nasizhivat both birds within 18 — 22 days. Trophic the look is connected with reservoirs, the main fodder objects — whitebaits of fishes and water invertebrates. Flying away takes place at the end of July — the beginning of August. The main places of winterings are in the western part of Africa (mainly in the Gulf of Guinea), and also in the southern and east parts of the African continent, in the Red Sea, on the southern coast of Arabian Peninsula.
Number and tendencies of its change. Total number is estimated at 900 — 1100 couples. Number is stable, weak fluctuations are possible. More than 80% of population nest in the territory of the Gomel and Brest regions.
International nature protection importance. The look is included in the Appendix I of the Directive of the EU on protection of rare birds, the Appendix II of the Bern convention, the Appendix II of the Bonn convention, carried to SPEC 3. It is brought in Red Lists of Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Russia.
Major factors of threat. The main reasons for death of colonies - flooding as a result of late floods, wind-induced winds, washing off by waves when passing vessels, trampling scotomas. The concern factor along with anthropogenous transformation of habitats was the most important cause of sharp reduction of number of small morwennols in the western part of Europe. Predatoriness of other types can make serious impact on colonies of small morwennols: vranovy, large seagulls, land predators, etc.
Protection measures. The look is included in the Red List of Republic of Belarus since 1981. In Belarus shooting of this look, destruction of nests and gathering eggs is forbidden. The part of the places of residence is protected in borders of the existing especially protected natural territories. Additional special measures for protection of the colonial mixed settlements rzhankoobrazny, restriction of a pasture of cattle in places of colonies during nesting are required.
Originators: Nikiforov M. E., Pinchuk P. V.