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Among the many breeds of pigeons, it is high-flying pigeons that have been bred in Russia since ancient times. It is customary to refer them to the group of so-called racing pigeons. High-flying pigeons fully justify their name, doing aerobatics at such a height that it is often even difficult to see them well from the ground.
Features of high-flying pigeon breeds
These birds stand out among all breeds of pigeons, first of all, for their flying qualities. They not only take off to the highest altitude, but can also stay in the air for a long time. It is for these two indicators that a careful selection of high-flying pigeons has been carried out since ancient times. In 1963, an absolute world record was set by English pigeons, which has not been broken to this day. They made a journey of 20 hours and 10 minutes, never landing anywhere or resting. Unfortunately, today the average flight duration of high-flying pigeons is only 3-6 hours. Although some of them are able to hold out in the air for up to 10-12 hours.
In order to take off to a great height and stay in the air for a long time, these birds are distinguished by a unique body structure, the structure of which, as it were, obeys all flight requirements. The body of high-flying pigeons of any breed is usually small in size, has a streamlined shape, as can be clearly seen in the photo.
The head is small, the chest is well developed, and the wings are long and compact, close to the body. High-flying pigeons are distinguished by good orientation in space, undemanding to keeping conditions, quick adaptation to any regime, lightness and simplicity in feeding.
One of the most important criteria by which high-flying pigeons are judged at international competitions is their flight height. Although this characteristic is somewhat arbitrary, nevertheless, it is customary to distinguish between the following standards:
- from 80 to 120 m - is considered the height of the bell tower;
- from 200 to 400 m - the pigeon is the size of a lark;
- from 400 to 600 m - closer to the size of a sparrow;
- from 600 to 800 m - butterfly size;
- from 800 to 1000 m - a pigeon just resembles a small dot;
- from 1500-1700 m birds are hidden from view and they can be seen only by using special optical devices.
There are also the main flight styles of high-flying pigeons:
- The chunky style makes the birds rise to a certain height in smooth circles and then stay there for a long time.
- Using a persistent style, pigeons gain height almost strictly vertically, without circles. At a certain level, the birds simply "hover" in the air and soar with virtually no movement at one point.
Both of these methods allow you to increase the duration of the flight without much physical exertion.
There are also several types of flight that are specific to individual birds, and characterize the movement of the wings. They are commonly used in stubborn flying style:
- lark - pigeons hold their wings strictly perpendicular to the body and flutter them in the same way as birds of the same name do. At the same time, the tail is widened and periodically hovered, stopping all movements.
- butterfly - the type of flight is similar to the previous one, but the wings are deployed in relation to the body by 30 ° forward.
- end - a pigeon in the air unfolds its tail as much as possible and, as it were, sits on it. In this case, the wings are thrown back over the head and are parallel, and the chest is raised up. At the height, the birds freeze, only trembling with their edge wings.
- sickle - the type of flight is similar to the end flight, but the wings bend like a sickle.
- oar - the rarest type, when the pigeon gains altitude with the help of alternating flaps of its wings.
High-flying pigeon breeds with photos and names
There is a fairly wide variety of high-flying pigeon breeds. They differ in both external data and flight characteristics. Most of the breeds are named after the localities or countries where they were bred. Some of them are predominantly of local importance, others are common in many regions.
Initially, there were practically no special requirements for the appearance of high-flying pigeons, and the decorative qualities of birds were in second place. The main thing on which the attention of pigeon breeders was focused is the flying qualities of birds. But recently, when breeding new breeds, more and more attention is paid to the external decorative properties of pigeons. At the same time, the flight performance deteriorated by itself. The following is a description of the high-flying pigeon breeds with photographs.
This breed is considered one of the best and most famous among high-flying pigeons in Russia. It was bred to the town of Chistopol, which is located on the banks of the Kama River at the end of the 19th century.
The flight of Chistopol high-flying pigeons is characterized by a rapid spiral climb. Birds often use ascending currents of air, while distributing their forces sparingly and slightly moving their wings. The movements themselves, therefore, are obtained, as it were, in slow motion. They often take off to a height where it is almost impossible to see them without special devices. The flight lasts on average about 4-6 hours, but a trained bird is able to stay in the air for much longer, up to 10 hours. They usually descend also slowly, intensively flapping their wings.
Since the external qualities when breeding this breed were clearly relegated to the background, the color of pigeons can be very diverse. But among them there are often so-called hryvnias. This color suggests the presence of a darker colored "mane" on the back of the head. Sometimes on the forehead it is also possible to mark the "cockade", which has exactly the same shade as the "mane".
The birds' eyes are dark, they usually fly in small flocks, but only the strongest reach the maximum height and duration of flight.
Also a widespread breed of high-flying pigeons, was bred in the last century in the Urals. Perm pigeons are especially popular in Siberia, the Urals and Kazakhstan.
Pigeons have a rather large body (up to 35 cm in length), with a small round, low-set head. The eyes are yellow, the neat beak is of medium size. Birds have a well-developed chest, wings are large and powerful.
The colors can be varied: black, gray, brown or white. In the air, pigeons of this breed are able to hold out no more than 6 hours. Their flight style is not particularly distinctive, they gain altitude without circles, turns and other exquisite configurations.
One of the most popular high-flying pigeon breeds due to the peculiarities of its flight. Nikolaev pigeons were officially registered in Ukraine in the city of Nikolaev in 1910. The birds have a strong, dry constitution, of medium size. The eyes are brown, the tail is wide.
Birds are capable of rapidly gaining altitude in a straight line in the air column. They use almost all types of laceless flight, but the most interesting are the butt and sickle ones. Strong winds greatly influence the duration and beauty of the flight. In this case, in 3-4 minutes, the pigeon is able to gain altitude up to 600-700 m and go further and further upward.
Attention! If the headwind speed is less than 5 m / s, then the end flight will be impossible. Moreover, when the wind weakens, the pigeons finish their flight rather quickly and return home.
Therefore, it does not make much sense to train and generally breed high-flying pigeons of the Nikolaev breed in regions where there are no constant strong winds. Pigeons can begin to fly in circles, get used to a different manner of flight and have to be discarded.
Due to their unique manner of flight, the birds of the Nikolaev breed have many original folk names: cloud cutters, butterflies, larks and pole pigeons.
The plumage can be black, yellow, white, cherry, red.
Hungarian high-flying pigeons do not differ in particularly outstanding flight qualities, since they have a strong and massive body and a fairly decent weight - up to 1 kg. But these birds have well-developed "parental" feelings, so they are often used as "nurses". In addition, they are very undemanding to the conditions of detention, and also have an excellent orientation in space and are able to remember the way home for many hundreds of kilometers.
The Shadrinskaya breed of pigeons has been known for a long time and enjoys well-deserved popularity. But it turned out to be officially registered only in 2017. This breed was bred in the Siberian town of Shadrinsk and was maintained all the years only by the efforts of amateur pigeon breeders.
They are pigeons with very small beaks, unfeathered legs and very beautiful plumage of the most varied colors imaginable. The main advantages of the Shadrinskaya breed of high-flying pigeons are amazing endurance and unpretentiousness - the birds easily stay in the air for 6-8 hours or more, gain great height and overcome considerable distances. At the same time, they love to fly in large flocks, therefore, due to the motley color of the plumage, they look very beautiful and are highly valued by lovers of high-flying pigeons. Shadrinsky birds have a strong craving for their native nest, they always return home from anywhere.
High-flying pigeons of this breed have a relatively small size and an active, lively character. The head is smooth, the beak is medium, slightly curved at the end. The eyes have a bluish tint with pink flecks. The neck is vertical to the body. Powerful and strong wings almost reach the tail in length. Legs are short. The plumage is close to the body. It can be of different colors, mainly white with various decorations: on the neck, on the back, on the belt, on the wings.
The main feature of birds of this breed is that they fly only in flocks. Moreover, the flocks are so tightly organized that not a single bird in flight is able to break away from its fellows. And if this happens, then such pigeons are usually discarded. And such a flock trip in the air can last up to 5 hours or more at an altitude that often goes beyond all the boundaries of visibility. The flight style is predominantly round.
Sverdlovsk high-flying pigeons were bred in the Urals at the beginning of the 20th century. These are powerful and strong birds of rather large size, reaching 37 cm in length. The head is small, oval in shape, the beak is narrow, small, gray in color. The eyes are usually light, white or yellow in color; the legs are small and have no plumage. The tail is narrow and small. Some birds have a forelock on their heads. The plumage is of a hard type, it can be white, black or various combinations of variegated. In total, about 5 varieties of Sverdlovsk pigeons are known, differing in color.
Flights are carried out at different heights. They prefer to take off in flocks, and then separate, and each bird chooses its own direction of flight. They rarely stay in the air for more than 4-6 hours, but if desired, they can fly all night. During takeoffs, no special turns and aerobatics were noticed behind them. Pigeons of this breed are common among fans of the Volga region, Kazakhstan, Siberia.
Sverdlovsk pigeons have a good return home instinct. They are superbly oriented on the terrain and almost never get lost.
The Kazan breed is of value mainly for the local population. Was withdrawn on the territory of Tatarstan. The decorative qualities of the breed are maintained. In particular, the patterns on the wings should be as symmetrical as possible.
The flying qualities of pigeons are rather weak. But the birds look quite impressive.
The Odessa breed includes rather large pigeons, which reach 43 cm in length. A feature is the flattened shape of the head, which in its appearance slightly resembles a snake. The chest and neck are moderately developed. Nevertheless, Odessa pigeons are able to show relatively good flight performance. The plumage is velvety, it can be gray, dark cherry, gray or black shades.
Izhevsk high-flying pigeons have common roots with the Permian breed, therefore in many ways they resemble them. These strong and sturdy birds with dense adherent plumage can soar in circles to a decent height and stay in the air for up to 6-8 hours. The plumage is dominated by red, yellow and black shades.
One of the fairly young breeds of high-flying pigeons, which was bred within the Republic of Mordovia. Birds have both attractive external properties and quite good summer qualities. The physique is standard, the eyes are yellow, the plumage is variegated, of all the most common shades. They are perfectly oriented and find their way home, even after many months of absence. They can spend more than 7 hours in a row in the air, flying at an average altitude. But sometimes they go up to where it is impossible to see them with the eye.
There are many discrepancies for this breed of high-flying pigeons. Many consider it only a kind of Chistopol breed. Others, on the contrary, recognize her right to individuality. The characteristics of the breed are not fully developed. Many people call the hryvnias - pigeons with a colored "mane" on the back of the head and neck. Others, on the contrary, call them birds with an exceptionally white color. But everyone unanimously recognizes their excellent flying qualities and excellent terrain orientation. They always return home from anywhere, even hundreds of kilometers from their native nest.
They fly in a flock, which breaks down into separate individuals at high altitude. Depending on strength and endurance, some fly further upward, while others return back to the dovecote.
The breed got its name because the birds were bred in the capital of Serbia - Belgrade. On the other hand, some sources claim that the pigeons were brought into Serbia by the Turks, which is also quite similar to the truth. The birds are distinguished by their small compact size of the body with a powerful short neck passing into the chest and dense long wings. On the head, as a rule, there is a beautiful crest. The plumage color ranges from white to blue-black. Individual birds can stay in the air for up to 10 hours, although the average flight duration is about 5-6 hours.
Recommendations for keeping high flying pigeons
High-flying pigeons do not have special care requirements. But, of course, the main points should be:
- properly equipped dwelling;
- balanced and adequate nutrition.
The height of the dovecote should not be less than 2 meters and about 0.5 sq. m. floor area. On the north side, the room should be well insulated, and the departure should be either on the south or on the east.
As for nutrition, it is necessary to feed high-flying pigeons 1-2 times a day. The weekly feed rate per bird is about 400 g. In winter and during molting, the amount of food and its variety should be increased.
From 1.5 months of age, high-flying pigeons need daily training and education.
High-flying pigeons are kept by fanciers from different regions and countries of the world both for their own pleasure and to participate in exhibitions. Although the flying qualities of birds must be regularly maintained, including the periodic culling of unsuitable individuals.