WATERFOWL of The World

The order Anseriformes contains about 150 living species of birds All species in the order are web-footed for efficient swimming and have a large wide bill with a specialized tongue that allows water to be sucked in the front of the bill. An array of plates traps food particles as the water is expelled out the sides of the bill. Not all species feed this way, some graze on plants and some also catch fish.

Anseriformes has 3 familes, but almost all of the species belong to Anatidae.
Family Anatidae: dabbling ducks, teals, diving ducks, sea duck, shelducks, geese.
Family Anatidae: stiff-tailed ducksswans, whistling ducks,
Family Anhimidae: screamers
Family Anseranatidae: magpie goose

Other species resemble the waterfowl of Anseriformes.
Order Gaviiformes, Family Gaviidae: loons
Order Gruiformes, Family Rallidae: coots, moorhens, crakes, rails
Order Podicipediformes, Family Podicipedidae: grebes


EUROPEAN Sea Ducks

Order Anseriformes    Family Anatidae 
 


The seaducks, Merginae, form a subfamily of the duck, goose and swan family of birds, Anatidae. Most are essentially marine outside the breeding season. Many species have developed specialized salt glands to allow them to tolerate salt water. Some of the mergansers prefer riverine habitats. All but two of the approximately 20 species in this group occupy habitats in far northern latitudes. The fish-eating members of this group, such as the mergansers and Smew, have serrated edges to their bills to help them grip their prey. Other seaducks take molluscs or crustaceans from the sea floor.


Genus Bucephala

Goldeneye, Barrow's Bucephala islandica  Found in Northern latitudes of North America, Iceland, Europe (rare)
The male Barrow's Goldeneye has golden eye; black back, head, rump; white crescent spot on cheek; white underparts and flanks; white dabs on back; black bill. Female has yellowish eye; brown head; gray back, tail; lighter gray breast and flanks; mostly yellow bill.
Similar to: Common Goldeneye. Male Barrow's Goldeneye has crescent white spot on cheek; male Common Goldeneye has oval white spot on cheek. Female Barrow's Golden has mostly yellow bill; female Common Goldeneye has mostly black bill.
Image by:   1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7,  8, 9)  Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights   3) Donna Dewhurst, USFWS
1) Pair  2 - 5) Female  6 - 9) Male   7) A common pose




Goldeneye, Common Bucephala clangula   Found in Northern latitudes of: North America, Europe
The male Common Goldeneye has golden eye; black back, head, rump; oval crescent spot on cheek; white underparts and flanks; white dabs on back; black bill. Female has yellowish eye; brown head; gray back, tail; lighter gray breast and flanks; black bill.
Similar to: Barrow's Goldeneye. Male Barrow's Goldeneye has crescent white spot on cheek; male Common Goldeneye has oval white spot on cheek. Female Barrow's Golden has mostly yellow bill; female Common Goldeneye has mostly black bill.
Image by: 1)  Peggy   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights   
1 - 4) Female  7, 8, 9) Male





Genus Clangula - 1 species

Duck, Long-tailed also Oldsquaw  Clangula hyemalis   Found north coast regions of: North America, Europe, Asia
The Long-tailed Duck is brown and white. Wings are always dark. Male has long tail.
Winter male has mostly white head and neck with dark cheek patch, dark breast, white flanks. Summer male has dark neck, breast, and wings; mostly dark head with white face; dark gray bill with pink band.
Winter female has white neck and head with a dark crown. Summer female mostly brown upperparts, lighter flanks.
Image by: 1, 4, 5, 6)  Alan D Wilson - Vancouver Island, British Columbia   2, 3, 7, 8) Dick Daniels - Alaska Sea Life Center, Seward Alaska
1) winter female  2, 3) summer female   4, 5, 6) winter male  8) summer male



Genus Melanitta
The male scoters are mostly black with swollen bills; females mostly brown.

Scoter, Common  Melanitta nigra  Found: Europe, Asia
The male Common Scoter has black plumage; bulbous bill with yellow around nostrils. Female has mottled brown plumage with pale cheeks.
Image by: 1, 3) JV Verde - Portugal 2) Stefan Bemdtsson  Jason Thompson - West Sussex
1, 2) Female 3, 4) Male


Scoter, Surf Melanitta perspicillata   Found: North America, Europe
The male Surf Scoter has black body, black head with white forehead and white nape. It has attention getting large orange, white, and black bill. Female is brown with pale head patches.
Image by: 1, 4) Alan D Wilson  Huntington Beach, California   2) Elaine R Wilson  Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach, California   3) Mike Baird - Los Osos, Morro Bay, CA,  5) Peter Massas - Barnegat, NJ, USA.    6) Dick Daniels - Cape May, New Jersey ferry
1, 2) Female 3 - 6) Male




Genus Mergellus - 1 species

Smew  Mergellus albellus  Found: Europe, Asia
Male Smew has a black back. The rest of the body is white with distinguishing white lines, black eye patch. The flanks aer gray.  Female Smew has gray body, white neck, brownish red head and nape.
Image by: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) - Sylvan Heights  
1 - 4) Female    5 - 8) Male



Genus Mergus
Fish-eating ducks that are in a sea-duck subfamily. But in spite of the sea they usually prefer rivers (except for Red-breasted Merganser). They have long thin bills with serrated edges which helps to firmly hold fish.

Merganser, Brazilian   Mergus octosetaceus   Found: Brazil, Argentina
The Brazilian Merganser has dark gray upperparts; shiny dark green hood with crest; light gray breast; whitish belly; white wing patch; thin jagged  black bill; red legs, feet. Female same color but smaller with smaller bill, crest.
Image by: 1) Claudio Timm  2) Savio Bruno - Brazil
2) Male


Merganser, Common also Goosander Mergus merganser   Found: North America, Europe, Asia
The adult breeding male Common Merganser has black head and back, white neck and underparts. The female and eclipse male have reddish-brown head, white neck, gray back and underparts.
Similar to: Red-breasted Merganser. Female / nonbreeding male Common Merganser and female / nonbreeding male Red-breasted Merganser are similar. The Common Merganser has white under its chin while the Red-breasted doesn't. Also, the red on the neck of the Common Merganser ends aburptly compared to the gradual transition on the Red-breasted Merganser.  For both species, the breeding male has a black head and the female / nonbreeding male does not.
Image by:  1, 5) Quartl - Munich, Germany   2) Dick Daniels - Alaska   3, 8) Dick - Sylvan Heights     4) Ted Grussing - Arizona  6) Cristiano Crolle - Italy  7) Dick - New Hampshire    9) Mdf Ontario, Canada   10) Dick -  Arizona 
1) Female with chicks  2 - 7) Female or nonbreeding male  8 - 10) Breeding male
2) Note the fishing line leading to the probably doomed bird's mouth.



Merganser, Red-breasted Mergus serrator   Found: North America, Europe, Asia
The Red-breasted Merganser has a long, thin red bill, fuzzy to spiky head feathers. The male has black head and back, white neck and underparts, rusty to dark breast. Female has rusty head, gray upperparts, light underparts.
Similar to: Common Merganser. Female / nonbreeding male Common Merganser and female / nonbreeding male Red-breasted Merganser are similar. The Common Merganser has white under its chin while the Red-breasted doesn't. Also, the red on the neck of the Common Merganser ends aburptly compared to the gradual transition on the Red-breasted Merganser.  For both species, the breeding male has a black head and the female / nonbreeding male does not.
Image by:  1, 2, 3, 8) Dick Daniels - North Carolina   6) Dick - New Orleans, Louisianna  4) Dick - Biloxi, Mississippi   5) Alan D Wilson Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach, California  7) Ingrid Taylor - Washington




Eiders

Eiders are large seaducks. They breed in the cooler latitudes of the Northern hemisphere. The down feathers of eider ducks, and some other ducks and geese, are used to fill pillows and quilts—they have given the name to the type of quilt known as an eiderdown.


Genus Polysticta - 1 species

Eider, Steller's  Polysticta stelleri  Found: North America, Europe, Asia
Steller's Eider is mainly found in Alaska. The male is unmistakable with its black upperparts and neck collar, white head and yellowish underparts. The female is a dark brown bird, smaller with a more typically duck-shaped head and body than other eider species. [Wikipedia]
Image by:  1, 3) Laura Whitehouse, USFWS - Alaska SeaLife Center, Anchorage  2)  Glen Smart, USFWS     3, 4) Ómar Runólfsson - Iceland
1, 2) Female  3) Pair  4, 5) Male  




Genus Somateria

These eiders all breed in the cooler latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

Eider, Common Somateria mollissima   Found: North America, Europe, Asia
The Common Eider is the largest eider. It has a large wedge shaped bill. Male is black and white with a green nape. Female is brown.
Similar to: King Eider female. Female Common Eider is bigger than female King Eider. Female Common Eider has a crisp, wedge-shaped bill. The base of the female King Eider's bill gives the appearance of a smile.
Image by: 1, 8, 10, 11) Dick Daniels - Scotland   3, 5) Dick - Sylvan Heights  4) Dick - Maine     2) Amanda Boyd, USFWS - Massachusetts   6) Olafur Larsen     7) Seabamirum - New Jersey   9) Cristiano Crolle - Como Lake, northern Italy  12)  Steve Garvie - Scotland 
1) Pair  2 - 5) Female  6) Male nonbreeding  7) Male eclipse   8 - 12) Male breeding


Eider, King  Somateria spectabilis Found: North America, Europe, Asia
The breeding male King Eider has a black belly and lower back; white breast, upper back, shoulders, face; multicolored head. Female is mottled brown with white arc above the eye. Nonbreeding male is plain brown is still distinguished by its bill.
Similar to: Common Eider female. Female Common Eider is bigger than female King Eider. Female Common Eider has a crisp, wedge-shaped bill. The base of the female King Eider's bill gives the appearance of a smile.
Image by: 1, 2) Ómar Runólfsson - Iceland   3, 4, 5, 6) Dick Daniels - Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward   7) Gary Sutherland    8, 9, 10) Dick - Sylvan Heights
1) Female King Eider (front), female Common Eider (rear)   2, 3, 4) Female  5, 6) Male nonbreeding  7, 8, 9) Male breeding








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