Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World: Contents, Preface, & Introduction

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University of Nebraska - Lincoln

[email protected] of Nebraska - Lincoln Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World by Paul A. Johnsgard

Papers in the Biological Sciences


Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World: Contents, Preface, & Introduction Paul A. Johnsgard University of Nebraska-Lincoln, [email protected]

Follow this and additional works at: Part of the Ornithology Commons Johnsgard, Paul A., "Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World: Contents, Preface, & Introduction" (2010). Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World by Paul A. Johnsgard. Paper 2.

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DUCKS, GEESE, and SWANS of the World Paul A. Johnsgard Revised Edition

Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World By Paul A. Johnsgard

The only one-volume comprehensive survey of the family Anatidae available in English, this book combines lavish illustration with the most recent information on the natural history, current distribution and status, and identification of all the species. After an introductory discussion of the ten tribes of Anatidae, separate accounts follow for each of the nearly 150 recognized species. These include scientific and vernacular names (in French, German, and Spanish as well as English), descriptions of the distribution of all recognized subspecies, selected weights and measurements, and identification criteria for both sexes and various age classes. The “Natural History” section of each species account considers habitats, foods, social behavior, and reproductive biology. Finally, a short discussion of the species’ present population status and current evidence about its evolutionary relationships are presented. A glossary of technical terms and derivations of vernacular names and a reference list of more than three hundred sources supplement the text. A large number of illustrations—more than 170 line drawings and 132 distribution maps—were prepared especially for this volume, which also includes 59 color plates. Each species is illustrated in either line drawing or photograph or both. One of the world’s foremost authorities on waterfowl behavior, Paul A. Johnsgard is emeritus professor of biological sciences at the University of Nebraska– Lincoln. He is the author of more than 40 books, including Handbook of Waterfowl Behavior, Waterfowl: Their Biology and Natural History, Cranes of the World, Grouse and Quails of North America, North American Game Birds of Upland and Shoreline, Waterfowl of North America, Birds of the Great Plains, Birds of the Rocky Mountains, North American Owls, Trogons and Quetzals of the World, Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons of North America, The Pheasants of the World, The Avian Brood Parasites: Deception at the Nest, The Hummingbirds of North America, Arena Birds: Sexual Selection and Behavior, and dozens more. Cover photograph of whooper swans by Paul A. Johnsgard

Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World

First published and copyright © 1978 by the University of Nebraska Press. Electronic edition published 2010 by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries. Copyright 2010 by Paul A. Johnsgard. All rights reserved Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Johnsgard, Paul A. Ducks, geese, and swans of the world. Bibliography: p. 387. Includes index. 1. Anatidae. I. Title. QL696.A52J62 598.4’ 1

Dedicated to The Wildfowl Trust Whose efforts have helped us to understand and preserve these magnificent birds


List of Illustrations Preface Introduction to the Family Anatidae

Tribe Anseranatini (Magpie Goose) Magpie Goose

Page xi xv xvii


Tribe Dendrocygnini (Whistling or Tree Ducks) Spotted Whistling Duck 7 Plumed Whistling Duck 8 Fulvous Whistling Duck 10 Wandering Whistling Duck 12 15 Lesser Whistling Duck White-faced Whistling Duck 17 Cuban Whistling Duck 20 Black-bellied Whistling Duck 21 24 White-backed Duck Tribe Anserini (Swans and True Geese) Mute Swan Black Swan Black-necked Swan Trumpeter Swan Whooper Swan Whistling Swan Bewick Swan Coscoroba Swan Swan Goose Bean Goose White-fronted Goose Lesser White-fronted Goose Graylag Goose Bar-headed Goose Snow Goose Ross Goose Emperor Goose

29 31 34 36 39 42 44 47 49 52 55 58 60 63 66 69 72

Page 74 76 80 83 86

Hawaiian Goose Canada Goose Barnacle Goose Brant Red-breasted Goose

Tribe Cereopsini (Cape Barren Goose) Cape Barren Goose


Tribe Stictonettini (Freckled Duck) Freckled Duck


Tribe Tadornini (Sheldgeese and Shelducks) Blue-winged Goose Andean Goose Magellan Goose Kelp Goose Ashy-headed Sheldgoose Ruddy-headed Sheldgoose Orinoco Goose Egyptian Goose Ruddy Shelduck Cape Shelduck Australian Shelduck New Zealand Shelduck Crested Shelduck Northern (Common) Shelduck Radjah Shelduck

103 104 105 108 109 111 113 115 116 118 120 122 124 126 129

Tribe Tachyerini (Steamer Ducks) Flying Steamer Duck Magellanic Flightless Steamer Duck Falkland Flightless Steamer Duck

135 136 138

Tribe Cairinini (Perching Ducks) Spur-winged Goose Muscovy Duck White-winged Wood Duck

143 144 146

••• vii

Comb Duck Hartlaub Duck Green Pygmy Goose Cotton Pygmy Goose African Pygmy Goose Ringed Teal North American Wood Duck Mandarin Duck Australian Wood Duck Brazilian Teal

Page 148 151 152 154 156 158 160 163 165 167

Tribe Merganettini (Torrent Duck) Torrent Duck


Tribe Anatini (Dabbling or Surface-feeding Ducks) Blue Duck Salvadori Duck African Black Duck Eurasian Wigeon American Wigeon Chiloe Wigeon Falcated Duck Gadwall Baikal Teal Green-winged Teal Speckled Teal Cape Teal Madagascan Teal Gray Teal Chestnut Teal Brown Teal Mallard North American Black Duck Meller Duck Yellow-billed Duck Gray Duck Philippine Duck Bronze-winged Duck Crested Duck Pintail Brown Pintail White-cheeked Pintail Red-billed Pintail Silver Teal

179 180 182 184 187 190 192 195 198 200 204 206 208 209 211 214 216 219 222 223 224 227 228 231 233 236 238 241 243

viii • • •

Hottentot Teal Garganey Blue-winged Teal Cinnamon Teal Red Shoveler Cape Shoveler Australasian Shoveler Northern Shoveler Pink-eared Duck Marbled Teal

Page 245 247 250 253 256 257 260 262 265 268

Tribe Aythyini (Pochards) Pink-headed Duck Red-crested Pochard Southern Pochard Rosybill Canvasback Eurasian Pochard Redhead Ring-necked Duck Australasian White-eye Siberian White-eye (Baer Pochard) Ferruginous White-eye Madagascan White-eye Tufted Duck New Zealand Scaup Greater Scaup Lesser Scaup

273 274 277 279 281 284 287 290 292 295 297 299 300 303 305 307

Tribe Mergini (Sea Ducks) Eider (Common Eider) King Eider Spectacled Eider Steller Eider Labrador Duck Harlequin Duck Long-tailed Duck (Oldsquaw) Black Scoter Surf Scoter White-winged Scoter Bufflehead Barrow Goldeneye Common Goldeneye Hooded Merganser Smew

313 315 318 321 324 325 328 330 333 335 338 340 343 346 348


Page Brazilian Merganser Red-breasted Merganser Chinese Merganser Goosander (Common Merganser) Auckland Island Merganser

Tribe Oxyurini (Stiff-tailed Ducks) Black-headed Duck Masked Duck Ruddy Duck

351 352 356 357 361

White-headed Duck Maccoa Duck Argentine Blue-billed Duck Australian Blue-billed Duck Musk Duck Sources Cited Glossary and Vernacular Name Derivations Index

373 376 378 380 382


Figures Page


1. Diagram of Evolutionary Relationships of the Tribes and Genera of Anatidae


2. Diagram of External Features and Feather Areas of Waterfowl



1. Distribution of the Magpie Goose 2. Distribution of the Spotted Whistling Duck 3. Distribution of the Plumed Whistling Duck 4. Distribution of the Fulvous Whistling Duck 5. Distribution of the Wandering Whistling Duck 6. Distribution of the Lesser Whistling Duck 7. Distribution of the White-faced Whistling Duck 8. Distribution of the Black-bellied and Cuban Whistling Ducks 9. Distribution of the White-backed Duck 10. Distribution of the Mute Swan 11. Distribution of the Black Swan 12. Distribution of the Black-necked Swan 13. Distribution of the Trumpeter Swan 14. Distribution of the Whooper Swan 15. Distribution of the Whistling Duck 16. Distribution of the Bewick Swan 17. Distribution of the Coscoroba Swan 18. Distribution of the Swan Goose 19. Distribution of the Bean Goose 20. Distribution of the White-fronted Goose 21. Distribution of the Lesser White-fronted Goose

2 6 9 11 14 16 19 23 25 28 32 34 37 41 43 46 49 51 54 57 59

22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37.

Distribution of the Graylag Goose Distribution of the Bar-headed Goose Distribution of the Snow Goose Distribution of the Ross Goose Distribution of the Emperor Goose Distribution of the Canada Goose Distribution of the Barnacle Goose Distribution of the Brant Distribution of the Red-breasted Goose Distribution of the Cape Barren Goose Distribution of the Freckled Duck Distribution of the Blue-winged Goose Distribution of the Andean Goose Distribution of the Magellan Goose Distribution of the Kelp Goose

73 78 82 85 88 92 98 103 105 107 109

Distribution of the Ashy-headed Sheldgoose



Distribution of the Ruddy-headed Sheldgoose Distribution of the Orinoco Goose Distribution of the Egyptian Goose Distribution of the Ruddy Shelduck Distribution of the Cape Shelduck

112 114 116 117 120

43. Distribution of the Australian and New Zealand Shelducks 44. Distribution of the Northern Shelduck 45. Distribution of the Radjah Shelduck 46. Distribution of the Flying Steamer Duck

123 128 130 134

39. 40. 41. 42.

62 65 68 71

• • • xi



47. Distribution of the Magellanic and Falkland Flightless Steamer Ducks 48. Distribution of the Spur-winged Goose 49. Distribution of the Muscovy Duck 50. Distribution of the White-winged Wood Duck 5l. Distribution of the Comb Duck 52. Distribution of the Hartlaub Duck 53. Distribution of the Green Pygmy Goose 54. Distribution of the Cotton Pygmy Goose 55. Distribution of the African Pygmy Goose 56. Distribution of the Ringed Teal 57. Distribution of the North American Wood Duck 58. Distribution of the Mandarin Duck 59. Distribution of the Australian Wood Duck 60. Distribution of the Brazilian Teal 6l. Distribution of the Torrent Duck 62. Distribution of the Salvadori Duck and Blue Duck 63. Distribution of the African Black Duck 64. Distribution of the Eurasian Wigeon 65. Distribution of the American Wigeon 66. Distribution of the Chiloe Wigeon 67. Distribution of the Falcated Duck 68. Distribution of the Gadwall 69. Distribution of the Baikal Teal 70. Distribution of the Green-winged Teal 71. Distribution of the Speckled Teal 72. Distribution of the Cape Teal and Madagascan Teal 73. Distribution of the Gray Teal 74. Distribution of the Chestnut Teal and Brown Teal 75. Distribution of the Mallard 76. Distribution of the North American Black Duck 77. Distribution of the Gray, Philippine, Yellow-billed, and Meller Ducks 78. Distribution of the Bronze-winged Duck 79. Distribution of the Crested Duck 80. Distribution of the Pintail 81. Distribution of the Brown Pintail xii . . . . . .

137 143 145 147 150 152 153 156 157 159 162 164 166 168 172 178 183 186 189 191 194 196 199 202 205 207 210 213 218 221 226 230 232 235 238

82. Distribution of the White-cheeked Pintail 83. Distribution of the Red-billed Pintail 84. Distribution of the Silver Teal 85. Distribution of the Hottentot Teal 86. Distribution of the Blue-winged Teal and Garganey 87. Distribution of the Cinnamon Teal 88. Distribution of the Red Shoveler 89. Distribution of the Cape Shoveler 90. Distribution of the Australasian Shoveler 91. Distribution of the Northern Shoveler 92. Distribution of the Pink-eared Duck 93. Distribution of the Marbled Teal 94. Distribution of the Red-crested Pochard 95. Distribution of the Southern Pochard 96. Distribution of the Rosybill 97. Distribution of the Canvasback 98. Distribution of the Eurasian Pochard 99. Distribution of the Redhead 100. Distribution of the Ring-necked Duck 10l. Distribution of the Australasian White-eye 102. Distribution of the Siberian White-eye 103. Distribution of the Ferruginous White-eye 104. Distribution of the Tufted Duck 105. Distribution of the Greater Scaup, New Zealand Scaup, and Madagascan White-eye 106. Distribution of the Lesser Scaup 107. Distribution of the Eider 108. Distribution of the King Eider 109. Distribution of the Spectacled Eider 110. Distribution of the Steller Eider 111. Distribution of the Harlequin Duck 112. Distribution of the Long-tailed Duck 113. Distribution of the Black Scoter 114. Distribution of the Surf Scoter 115. Distribution of the White-winged Scoter 116. Distribution of the Bufflehead 117. Distribution of the Barrow Goldeneye 118. Distribution of the Common Goldeneye 119. Distribution of the Hooded Merganser

240 242 245 247 249 255 256 258 261 264 267 269 276 278 280 283 285 289 291 293 296 298 302

306 309 312 317 320 323 327 329 332 335 337 340 342 344 347

120. Distribution of the 12l. Distribution of the 122. Distribution of the Merganser 123. Distribution of the 124. Distribution of the 125. Distribution of the 126. Distribution of the

Smew Brazilian Merganser Red-breasted Chinese Merganser Goosander Black-headed Duck Masked Duck

Page 349 352 354 356 359 366 368

127. 128. 129. 130.

Distribution Distribution Distribution Distribution Duck 13l. Distribution Duck 132. Distribution

of of of of

the the the the

Ruddy Duck White-headed Duck Maccoa Duck Argentine Blue-billed

Page 371 375 377 379

of the Australian Blue-billed 381 384

of the Musk Duck

Color Plates

l. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 1I. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28.

following page 96 White-faced Whistling Duck Magpie Goose Spotted Whistling Duck Plumed Whistling Duck Lesser Whistling Duck Black-bellied Whistling Duck African White-backed Duck Mute Swan Black Swan Black-necked Swan Trumpeter Swan Whooper Swan Bewick Swan Coscoroba Swan Lesser White-fronted Goose Graylag Goose Snow Goose Barnacle Goose Brant Hawaiian Goose Red-breasted Goose Cereopsis Goose Andean Goose Magellan Goose Ashy-headed Sheldgoose Egyptian Goose Cape Shelduck Magellanic Flightless Steamer Duck

following page 176 29. 30. 3l. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 4I. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 5l. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

Comb Duck Spur-winged Goose Muscovy Duck Hartlaub Duck African Pygmy Goose Ringed Teal Mandarin Duck Torrent Duck American Wigeon Chiloe Wigeon Falcated Duck Baikal Teal Cape Teal Crested Duck Bronze-winged Duck White-cheeked Pintail Garganey Red-crested Pochard Eurasian Pochard Redhead Greater Scaup American Eider King Eider Spectacled Eider Steller Eider Long-tailed Duck Harlequin Duck Bufflehead Barrow Goldeneye Hooded Merganser White-headed Duck •

• • xiii

Preface Of all the books that I have seen and wished that one day I could personally own, perhaps the ones that have most set me to daydreaming are the four-volume set A Natural History of the Ducks, by John C. Phillips. My first contact with this magnificent monograph was at Cornell University, where it could be seen in the rare book collection. I spent countless hours there during the late 1950s savoring the text and plates. At about that same time, the first volumes of Jean Delacour's The Waterfowl of the World were appearing, and these too gave me a chance to dream about such entrancing birds as torrent ducks, steamer ducks, musk ducks, and magpie geese. Since then it has been my good fortune to see all of these marvelous birds in life, and they have enriched my own life enormously. The waterfowl family is so rich in ecological diversity, in evolutionary lessons, and in behavioral complexities that I have never tired of either reading or writing about it. Only two of my previous books, Waterfowl: Their Biology and Natural History and the earlier Handbook of Waterfowl Behavior, have dealt with the entire waterfowl family in a comprehensive fashion, and neither attempted to provide a systematic review of the biology of every species. Indeed, I have repeatedly thought about undertaking such an effort but each time have shrunk back at the thought of the huge number of species to be considered and of the vast literature that has accumulated on the group. Even in the 1920s it required four volumes for John C. Phillips to review the biology of the waterfowl family exclusive of the swans and geese, and Jean Delacour found that the same number of volumes was needed for his treatment of the entire family. I decided that, in spite of the concessions that would need to be made, a shorter approach to the family Anatidae was possible, provided that a maximum condensation of text be attained, primarily through avoiding repetitous material such as separate accounts for each subspecies. I also decided to exclude taxonomic synonymies, extensive mensural data, and most avicultural information, all of which

can be found in Delacour's monograph, and likewise to reduce descriptive behavioral information to a minimum whenever it had already been summarized in my Handbook of Waterfowl Behavior. After considerable deliberation, it was decided to include plumage descriptions as an aid to identification but not to attempt to describe all molts and plumages. The "Natural History" section of each species account was considered to be the nuclear element, and an effort was made to include newer or at least different information from that summarized by Delacour. The "Status" and "Relationships" sections were added after the text was well underway, the former because of the increasing incidence of rare and endangered forms among the waterfowl, and the latter because more information on phyletic relationships is available now than in 1965, when I last dealt comprehensively with this problem in the Handbook of Waterfowl Behavior. Except in a few instances, I have followed the taxonomic treatment used in the Handbook, both as to major taxonomic categories and sequences of species within such categories. The two exceptions constitute the recognition of special monotypic tribes for the Cape Barren goose and the torrent duck, since recent studies on both species have cast doubt on their presumed phyletic affinities and thus tribal recognition seemed to provide the best interim solution. The only other major change from the taxonomy used in the Handbook is the transfer of the genus Thalassornis from the stifftails to the whistling duck tribe. This action was based on my own studies after the publication of the Handbook and has received independent support from other investigators. A few changes have also been made in species limits and in subspecies recognized, and a moderate number of suggested changes in English vernacular names have been adopted. In part these have been to avoid the use of "common" for vernacular names, but also to allow for the consistent formation of distinctive vernacular names for each subspecies by simply adding an appropriate adjectival prefix. The group of four • • • xv

swans known as the "northern swans" has proven refractory to such treatment, partly because of their questionable taxonomic status and their still uncertain ancestral history. Thus, they have been given separate accounts and treated as if they are "good" species, in spite of the obvious fact that they are not. There are thus 148 separate species accounts in the text. The writing of the text was begun in the spring of 1976 and continued through most of 1977, so that later literature was included only if it was regarded as of critical importance. Further, the number of literature citations was held to an absolute minimum, but one or more "Suggested Readings" for each species was included to provide additional access to the nearly endless literature on the waterfowl family. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the School of Life Sciences for supporting this work and for allowing me the time needed to complete it. In addition, I must again thank a number of individuals for their invaluable aid. These include virtually all of the staff of the Wildfowl Trust, but especially Sir Peter Scott, Dr. Geoffrey Matthews, and Dr. Janet Kear. I would also like to thank Jean

xvi . . . . . .

Delacour for encouraging me to undertake the book in spite of its potential competition with his own monograph. Not only have I relied extensively on the volumes by Delacour and Phillips but also on the regional volumes by H. J. Frith (Australia), G. Dementiev and N. Gladkov (U.S.S.R.), P. A. Clancey (South Africa), S. Ali and D. Ripley (India), and C. Tso-hsin (China) for various mensural and descriptive information, sometimes without citations to these sources. I also wish to thank David Skead for providing unpublished data on South African species. The distribution maps have been based on a variety of sources, including the volumes just mentioned. The photographs are mostly of captive birds, taken at the Wildfowl Trust. All the photographs and line drawings are my own, although several of the drawings are based on published photographs taken by a variety of other photographers. In cases of rare or extinct species I have sometimes used photographs of live birds representing close relatives for proportions and postures, but virtually none of the drawings lack a documentary base.

Introduction to the Family Anatidae Inasmuch as the primary purpose of this book is to provide information on each of the species of the waterfowl family in a standardized format and easily accessible manner, it is important that the reader have some knowledge of the basis for my sequential organization of these species. A variety of attempts to provide a "natural" classification, or one that best reflects actual evolutionary relationships, of the family Anatidae have been made in recent years, with most of them being minor variations on a scheme first proposed by Jean Delacour and Ernst Mayr in 1945. In this landmark classification, emphasis was given to the association of species at the tribal level, rather than to the fragmentation of the family into a large number of subfamilies, as in earlier classifications. My own behavioral studies of the family resulted in a proposed classification for the group in 1961, which was utilized in my subsequent books (1965a, 1968a) and has been subject to only minor modification since that time based on new information from my own and other studies. In brief, the family Anatidae is here regarded to be composed of 3 subfamilies, 13 tribes, 43 genera, and 148 recent species as follows: Family Anatidae (ducks, geese, and swans) Subfamily Anseranatinae Tribe Anseranatini: Magpie goose (1 genus and species) Subfamily Anserinae Tribe Dendrocygnini: Whistling or tree ducks (2 genera, 9 species) Tribe Anserini: Swans and true geese (4 genera, 21 species) Tribe Cereopsini: Cape Barren goose (1 genus and species) Tribe Stictonettini: Freckled duck (1 genus and species) Subfamily Anatinae Tribe Tadornini: Sheldgeese and Shelducks (5 genera, 15 species)

Tribe Tachyerini: Steamer ducks (1 genus, 3 species) Tribe Cairinini: Perching ducks (9 genera, 13 species) Tribe Merganettini: Torrent duck (1 genus and species) Tribe Anatini: Dabbling or surface-feeding ducks (4 genera, 39 species) Tribe Aythyini: Pochards (3 genera, 16 species) Tribe Mergini: Sea ducks (8 genera, 20 species) Tribe Oxyurini: Stiff-tailed ducks (3 genera, 8 species) These groups are believed to be related to one another in the manner shown in figure 1, which indicates the probable relationships of the 13 tribes and 43 genera recognized in this book. Similar diagrams showing species relationships for each of the major tribes have been published earlier Oohnsgard, 1961a), and with relatively few more recent modifications still provide the basis for the sequence in which individual species are considered in this book. Behavioral and anatomical characteristics that provide the basis for the association of these species into tribes and subfamilies are those which are regarded as particularly significant, and thus it is worth reviewing such "emergent" characteristics before the species-by-species consideration of the entire family.


Tribe Anseranatini (Magpie Goose) This subfamily is composed of a single or mono typic tribe, genus, and species, the magpie goose, which differs so much from the remainder of the family that some persons have argued that it might best be placed in a separate family. However, it also provides such important transitional characteristics between the more typical waterfowl and the South American screamers of the family Anhimidae that it is perhaps most useful to retain it in the Anatidae as a "land. . . . . . xvii


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