The Candy Bird (Saltuseget Egetavis)
The size of the Candy Bird is comparable to that of a turkey. Adult birds are approximately 40-54 inches long and weigh about 25-36 pounds. They have a wingspan that ranges 43-51 inches. (National Wildlife Reserve of Russia [NWRR], 2003) The Candy Bird has a dark brown colored body with pale pastel-colored tail feathers. The stark contrast in color was notably mentioned in the journal of Spanish explorer Sir Fernando Columbus during his 17th century expedition of Siberia:
- “As my men and I were trekking through the vast wilderness one day, we came across an ominous forest. The trees and grass were various shades of a dark brown color and emitted an oddly sweet smell. With towering trees and thriving brown vegetation, I shall name this El Bosque de Chocolate Majestuoso. Just as I had christened this strange forest, I noticed a flash of color streak across to my side. A plump fowl, the size of a large chicken, stopped to stare curiously at us. The bird had the same chocolate colored body as the grass and leaves, but it has long, pale feathers on its tail: blue, green, yellow, and pink.”
-Excerpt from Sir Fernando Columbus' Expedition Journal
Republished in National Geogarphic of Russia (1995)
The Candy Bird is only able to fly before it matures. As the young birds mature, they gradually lose their ability to fly. (NWRR, 2003) The chicks do not have the same diet as the adult birds. After the birds hatch from their eggs, their parents feed them the highly nutritious chocolate berries that ripen and drop from the branches of the chocolate tree. Though the berries are the most nutritious at the peak of ripeness, the berries dramatically lose its flavor when it detaches from the tree. Therefore, when the young birds are able to fly, they feed on the under ripe berries. (University of Moscow, 2002) However, the under ripe berries contains the chemical compound, dichocolatacin. Continuous consumption of the chemical compound will weaken the structure of their wings and eventually rob the birds of their ability to fly.
After losing their ability to fly, the Candy Bird will forage and hunt for their food instead. They will eat nuts and seeds, such as the seeds of the Chocolate Truffle Flower, or hunt different insects. Some of the insects that they hunt include the Caramel Worm and the Orange Crème Beetle. The Candy Bird’s diet affects the eggs that they lay. Depending on which type of food the bird eats before laying their eggs, the properties of the egg will change.
- O'Connell, D.C (1995, July 3). Wonders in Russia. National Geographic maganize, 132, 46.
- Smirnoff, W. (2002). Majestic Beings. The University of Moscow Encyclopedia of Russia (pp.58-87). Moscow, Russia: University of Moscow Press.
- Zapata, N. (2003). Siberia Unknown Wildlife. National Wildlife Magazine, 115, 198-213.