A Pleasant Surprise – II

BJU Bird Collection 2018

In A Pleasant Surprise At The BJU Homecoming the Waterman Bird Collection, in the Science building, was introduced. This post will start introducing you to these wonderfully preserved specimens of birds that lived over a hundred years ago.

BJU Waterman Bird Collection 2018

At first, it bothered me about the use of birds in this manner, even though many museums have displays of birds. Yet, when you look back 100 plus years, they didn’t have the technology, nor the modern color cameras or slow motion videos to capture images of them. John Audubon did excellent drawing, with detailed colors. He also studied live birds and specimens.

“John James Audubon’s Birds of America is a portal into the natural world. Printed between 1827 and 1838, it contains 435 life-size watercolors of North American birds (Havell edition), all reproduced from hand-engraved plates, and is considered to be the archetype of wildlife illustration.” Birds of America

When the Lord first created the birds, there were no specimens until sin entered. How must those first birds have appeared? Photos, movies, and even specimens would have given us quite a sight. Today, we have fossils, but they do not show the beautiful feathers and features that those original avian wonders must have been adorned with.

“So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” (Genesis 1:21-23 NKJV)

Common Eider, Bufflehead, and Canada Goose

The birds in the right hand side of the display above is where we will begin. On the top shelf is an Eider, a Bufflehead and a Goose. It is nice to see them together to get a size perspective.

Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) BJU Bird Collection 2018

The Common Eider (pronounced /ˈaɪ.dər/) (Somateria mollissima) is a large (50–71 cm (20–28 in) in body length) sea-duck that is distributed over the northern coasts of Europe, North America and eastern Siberia. It breeds in Arctic and some northern temperate regions, but winters somewhat farther south in temperate zones, when it can form large flocks on coastal waters. It can fly at speeds up to 113 km/h (70 mph) Part of the Anatidae Family. Common Eider – Wikipedia and All About Birds

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) BJU Bird Collection 2018

The Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) is a small sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. This species was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 as Anas albeola.

The genus name is derived from Ancient Greek boukephalos, “bullheaded”, from bous, “bull ” and kephale, “head“, a reference to the oddly bulbous head shape of the species. The species name albeola is from Latin albus, “white”. The English name is a combination of buffalo and head, again referring to the head shape. This is most noticeable when the male puffs out the feathers on the head, thus greatly increasing the apparent size of the head.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) BJU Bird Collection 2018

All of these three birds are in the Anatidae Family. The photo shows how much larger the Goose is than the Bufflehead.

The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is a large wild goose species with a black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, and a brown body. Native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, its migration occasionally reaches northern Europe. It has been introduced to the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands. Like most geese, the Canada goose is primarily herbivorous and normally migratory; it tends to be found on or close to fresh water. Canada Goose Wikipedia and All About Birds

I trust you will enjoy meeting the various birds through this series. The links provided give much more information, and photos of these species.

“The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.” (Psalms 111:2 NKJV)

 

Sunday Inspiration – The Last of the Anatidae Family

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) Zoo Miami by Lee

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) Zoo Miami by Lee

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21 KJV)

Surprise! We are finally at the last of the Anatidae Family of Ducks, Geese, and Swans. There are 31 left, and today we will reveal the rest of them. There is a total of 173 species in this family. Trust you didn’t mind them being divided into different articles [in taxonomic order]. A list of the whole series of these avian wonders is at the end of the article.

Today, we start off with four Eiders that are in two genera. They are the Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri), Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri), and the King Eider (Somateria spectabilis), Common Eider (Somateria mollissima).What are an interesting looking group.

Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri) Pair ©USFWS

Eiders (/ˈ.dər/)

Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri)is the smallest eider at 45 cm (18 in) long. The male is unmistakable with his white head marked by a thick black eye ring and greenish-black tufts of feathers on the forehead and the back of the head. Chin, throat and neck are also black, as are the back, tail, and rump. Wings are dark bluish-purple with white edging. When folded, they give a striped appearance across the back. The speculum is metallic blue bordered with white. The breast and flanks are cinnamon-buff marked with a black spot on each side just above the waterline. Legs, feet and bill are dark bluish-grey. The female is a dark brown bird, smaller with a more typically duck-shaped head and body than other eider species.

Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri) ©USFWS

Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri) ©USFWS

The Eider genus, Somateriaare large seaducks . The scientific name is derived from Ancient Greek somatos “body” and erion “wool”, referring to eiderdown. They all 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.

I think that when the Lord God, the Creator of all these “duck family” critters, He was proving these verses we read in the Bible: “Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:” (Ephesians 1:8-9 KJV) [emphasis mine]

As you will see as we continue through the rest of these swimming critters, the variety of design, color, shapes, and provisions for them. What a Creator!

Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) ©WikiC

Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) ©WikiC

The Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) is a small sea duck. It takes its name from Harlequin (French Arlequin, Italian Arlecchino), a colourfully dressed character in Commedia dell’arte. The species name comes from the Latin word “histrio”, “actor”. In North America it is also known as lords and ladies. Other names include painted duck, totem pole duck, rock duck, glacier duck, mountain duck, white-eyed diver, squeaker and blue streak.

Labrador Duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius) Specimen ©WikiC

Labrador Duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius) Specimen ©WikiC

The Labrador Duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius) is an extinct North American bird; it has the dubious distinction of being the first endemic North American bird species to become extinct after the Columbian Exchange. It was already a rare duck before European settlers arrived, and became extinct shortly after. As a result of its rarity, information on the Labrador duck is not abundant, but some, such as its habitat, characteristics, dietary habits, and reasons behind extinction, are known. Specimens of the Labrador duck are preserved in museum collections worldwide.

Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) by Daves BirdingPix

Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) by Daves BirdingPix

The Scoters of the Melanitta genus come next: The Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata), Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca),  White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi),  Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra),  Black Scoter (Melanitta americana)

They are stocky seaducks. The drakes are mostly black and have swollen bills. Females are brown. The genus name is derived from Ancient Greek melas “black” and netta “duck”.

They breed in the far north of Europe, Asia, and North America, and winter farther south in temperate zones of those continents. They form large flocks on suitable coastal waters. These are tightly packed, and the birds tend to take off together. Their lined nests are built on the ground close to the sea, lakes or rivers, in woodland or tundra. These species dive for crustaceans and molluscs.

Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) by Ray

Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) by Ray

Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis), once known as oldsquaw, is a medium-sized sea duck. Their breeding habitat is in tundra pools and marshes, but also along sea coasts and in large mountain lakes in the North Atlantic region, Alaska, northern Canada, northern Europe, and Russia. The nest is located on the ground near water; it is built using vegetation and lined with down. They are migratory and winter along the eastern and western coasts of North America, on the Great Lakes, coastal northern Europe and Asia, with stragglers to the Black Sea. The most important wintering area is the Baltic Sea, where a total of about 4.5 million gather.

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) by Daves BirdingPix

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) by Daves BirdingPix

Bucephala is a genus of ducks found in the Northern Hemisphere. The genus name is derived from Ancient Greek boukephalos, “bullheaded”, from bous “bull”, and kephale, “head”, a reference to the crest of the bufflehead making its head look large. They are the Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola),  Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula),  Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica)

Smew (Mergellus albellus) ©WikiC

Smew (Mergellus albellus) ©WikiC

Smew (Mergellus albellus) – The drake smew, with its ‘cracked ice’ and ‘panda’ appearance, is unmistakable, and looks very black-and-white in flight. The females and immature males are grey birds with chestnut foreheads and crowns, and can be confused at a distance with the ruddy duck; they are often known as “redhead” smew. It has oval white wing-patches in flight. The smew’s bill has a hooked tip and serrated edges, which help it catch fish when it dives for them.

Hooded Merganser Viera Wetlands in clear with hood down.

Hooded Merganser Viera Wetlands with hood down by Lee

Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) is a species of small duck. It is the only extant species in the genus Lophodytes. The bird is striking in appearance; both sexes have crests that they can raise or lower, and the breeding plumage of the male is handsomely patterned and coloured. The hooded merganser has a sawbill but is not classified as a typical merganser.

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) Male Zoo Miami by Lee

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) Male Zoo Miami by Lee

The Merus genus of Typical Mergansers: New Zealand Merganser (Mergus australis) Extinct,  Brazilian Merganser (Mergus octosetaceus),  Common Merganser (Mergus merganser),  Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator),  Scaly-sided Merganser (Mergus squamatus)

Although they are seaducks, most of the mergansers prefer riverine habitats, with only the red-breasted merganser being common at sea. These large fish-eaters typically have black-and-white, brown and/or green hues in their plumage, and most have somewhat shaggy crests. All have serrated edges to their long and thin bills that help them grip their prey. Along with the Smew and Hooded Merganser, they are therefore often known as “sawbills“.

Black-headed Duck (Heteronetta atricapilla) ©©Klaus Rudloff

The Black-headed Duck (Heteronetta atricapilla) is a South American duck allied to the stiff-tailed ducks in the subfamily Oxyurinae of the family Anatidae. It is the only member of the genus Heteronetta.

This is the most basal living member of its subfamily, and it lacks the stiff tail and swollen bill of its relatives.

Masked Duck (Nomonyx dominicus) ©WikiC

Masked Duck (Nomonyx dominicus) ©WikiC

Masked Duck (Nomonyx dominicus) is a tiny stiff-tailed duck ranging through the tropical Americas. They are found from Mexico to South America and also in the Caribbean. Primarily not migratory, masked ducks are reported as very uncommon vagrants in the southernmost United States, along the Mexican border and in Florida.

These ducks mainly feed on seeds, roots, and leaves of aquatic plants. They also eat aquatic insects and crustaceans. They feed by diving.

ANS-Anat White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala)

White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) Zoo Miami by Lee

The Oxyura genus has 6 Ducks, the Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis),  Andean Duck (Oxyura ferruginea),  Lake Duck (Oxyura vittata),  Blue-billed Duck (Oxyura australis),  Maccoa Duck (Oxyura maccoa),  and the White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala).

Musk Duck (Biziura lobata) Male ©WikiC

The Musk Duck (Biziura lobate) is a highly aquatic, stiff-tailed duck native to southern Australia. It is the only living member of the genus Biziura. This animal derives its common name from the peculiar musky odour it emanates during the breeding season. Musk ducks are moderately common through the Murray-Darling and Cooper Creek basins, and in the wetter, fertile areas in the south of the continent: the southwest corner of Western Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania.

[Information from Wikipedia with editing]

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Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2 KJV)

“Birthday of the King” ~ Dr. Richard Gregory

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More Sunday Inspirations

Anatidae Family Sunday Inspirations:

10 Reasons Jesus Came to Die

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Sunday Inspiration – Diving Ducks and Allies

Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris) at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

“He turns a wilderness into pools of water, And dry land into watersprings. There He makes the hungry dwell,…” (Psalms 107:35-36a NKJV)

Today we will continue through the Anatidae family of Ducks, Geese, Swans and allies. We start off with these neat Marbled Ducks that greet us when we visit the Parakeet Plus Aviary at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, FL.

Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris) at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris) at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

“The marbled duck, or marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris), is a medium-sized duck. It used to be included among the dabbling ducks, but is now classed as a diving duck. The scientific name, Marmaronetta angustirostris, comes from the Greek marmaros, marbled and netta, a duck, and Latin angustus, narrow or small and rostris billed.The marbled duck is approximately 39–42 cm (15–17 in) long. Adults are a pale sandy-brown colour, diffusely blotched off-white, with a dark eye-patch and shaggy head. Juveniles are similar but with more off-white blotches. In flight, the wings look pale without a marked pattern, and no speculum on the secondaries. These birds feed mainly in shallow water by dabbling or up-ending, occasionally diving. Little is known of their diet.”

Pink-headed Duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllacea) Specimen Extinct ©WikiC

Pink-headed Duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllacea) Specimen Extinct ©WikiC

“The pink-headed duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllacea) was (or is) a large diving duck that was once found in parts of the Gangetic plains of India, Bangladesh and in the riverine swamps of Myanmar but feared extinct since the 1950s. Numerous searches have failed to provide any proof of continued existence. It has been suggested that it may exist in the inaccessible swamp regions of northern Myanmar and some sight reports from that region have led to its status being declared as “Critically Endangered” rather than extinct. The genus placement has been disputed and while some have suggested that it is close to the red-crested pochard (Netta rufina), others have placed it in a separate genus of its own. It is unique in the pink colouration of the head combined with a dark body. A prominent wing patch and the long slender neck are features shared with the common Indian spot-billed duck. The eggs have also been held as particularly peculiar in being nearly spherical.”

Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina) by Dan at Zoo Miami

Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina) by Dan at Zoo Miami

The next genus, Netta, and the Aythya genus, together make up the: “Subfamily: Aythyinae, diving ducks (Some 15 species of diving ducks, of worldwide distribution, in two to four genera; The 1986 morphological analysis suggested the probably extinct pink-headed duck of India, previously treated separately in Rhodonessa, should be placed in Netta, but this has been questioned. Furthermore, while morphologically close to dabbling ducks, the mtDNA data indicate a treatment as distinct subfamily is indeed correct, with the Tadorninae being actually closer to dabbling ducks than the diving ducks)”

  • Netta, red-crested pochard and allies (four species, one probably extinct)
  • Aythya, pochards, scaups, etc. (12 species)
Rosy-billed Pochard (Netta peposaca) ©WikiC

Rosy-billed Pochard (Netta peposaca) ©WikiC

Netta is a genus of diving ducks. The name is derived from Greek Netta “duck”. Unlike other diving ducks, the Netta species are reluctant to dive, and feed more like dabbling ducks. These are gregarious ducks, mainly found on fresh water. They are strong fliers; their broad, blunt-tipped wings require faster wing-beats than those of many ducks and they take off with some difficulty.

They do not walk as well on land as the dabbling ducks because their legs tend to be placed further back on their bodies to help propel them when underwater.”

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) at Lake Morton by Dan

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) at Lake Morton by Dan

“Aythya is a genus of diving ducks. It has twelve described species. The name Aythya comes from the Ancient Greek word αυθυια, aithuia, which may have referred to a sea-dwelling duck or an auklet.” The Aythyas are the; Canvasback (A. valisineria), Common pochard (A. ferina), Redhead (A. americana), Ring-necked duck (A. collaris), Hardhead (A. australis), Baer’s pochard (A. baeri), Ferruginous duck (A. nyroca), Madagascar pochard (A. innotata), New Zealand scaup (A. novaeseelandiae), Tufted duck (A. fuligula), Greater scaup (A. marila), Lesser scaup (A. affinis)”

[all quoted material is from Wikipedia]

“Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.” (Genesis 8:17 KJV)

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“And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.” (Genesis 8:18-19 KJV)

“How Can I Keep Singing” ~ The 3+1 Trio (Pastor Jerry, Reagan Osborne, Caleb and Jessie Padgett)”.

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More Sunday Inspirations

Anatidae – Ducks, Geese and Swans

Pastor Jerry Smith – Testimony

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Sunday Inspiration – Anas Genus

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) With young ©CountryTraveler

“If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young:” (Deuteronomy 22:6 KJV)

Today’s group of members from the “Ducks Plus” family, the Anatidae, are all from one Genus. The Anas according to Wikionary is: ” A taxonomic genus within the family Anatidae – various species of dabbling duck. These are probably the most common group of ducks many of us see.  The genus name is the Latin for “duck”. It includes mallards, wigeons, teals, pintails and shovelers in a number of subgenera. “Dabbling” is where the duck upends itself to feed. They feed mainly on water plants, which they obtain by tipping-up in shallows—uncommonly by diving (with opened wings); they often forage near the shore for seeds and insects. The bill is flat and broad, the hindtoe unlobed. Dabbling ducks float high in the water and are swift fliers, leaping upward on noisy wings before attaining level flight, usually in compact flocks.

Blue-Winged-Teal-Dabbling ©Flyways USFWS

Blue-Winged-Teal-Dabbling ©Flyways USFWS

The mallard (/ˈmælɑːrd/ or /ˈmælərd/) or wild duck (Anas platyrhynchos) is a dabbling duck which breeds throughout the temperate and subtropical Americas, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and has been introduced to New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, the Falkland Islands and South Africa. This duck belongs to the subfamily Anatinae of the waterfowl family Anatidae.

The male birds (drakes) have a glossy green head and are grey on wings and belly, while the females (hens or ducks) have mainly brown-speckled plumage. Both sexes have an area of white-bordered black speculum feathers which commonly also include iridescent blue feathers especially among males. Mallards live in wetlands, eat water plants and small animals, and are social animals preferring to congregate in groups or flocks of varying sizes. This species is the main ancestor of most breeds of domesticated ducks. I personally think that this duck, the Mallard, was on board the Ark. He seems to have obey the command to:

“Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.” (Genesis 8:16-17 KJV)

Mallard Duck Family ©WikiC ©WikiC

Mallard Duck Family ©WikiC

The mallard was one of the many bird species originally described by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th-century work Systema Naturae, and still bears its original binomial name. The scientific name is from Latin Anas, “duck” and Ancient Greek platyrhynchus , “broad-billed” ( from platus, “broad” and rhunkhos, ” bill”).

But the Mallard is not the only duck in this genus, Anas. There are 48 others. As mentioned, much interbreeding has taken place, and eventually these were raised to species status. After showing you the Wood Ducks last week, their is another beauty from the Lord in this week’s group.

Baikal Teal (Anas formosa) ©WikiC

Baikal Teal (Anas formosa) ©WikiC

We have seen this Teal, but not in that breeding outfit.

Baikal Teal (Anas formosa) Zoo Miami by Lee

Baikal Teal (Anas formosa) Zoo Miami by Lee

Unfortunately this genus contains “some of the world’s finest game birds: the black duck(Anas rubripes), much sought after by hunters; the mallard; the gadwall(Anas strepera); the garganey (A. querquedula); the pintail (A. acuta), perhaps the world’s most abundant waterfowl; the shoveler (Anas, or Spatula, clypeata), the “spoonbill” of hunters; the teals, races of Anas crecca and other species; the wigeons, Anas, or Mareca, americana and A.,or M., penelope. (Enclopeaedia Britannica) As you all know, I am a birdwatcher/photographer, not a hunter. I realize hunter organizations do much to maintain hunting areas and prevent over-hunting. That is a good thing, but not my “cup of tea.”

Here is a of each by last name:

Teals do not totally submerge when feeding and are often seen with just their rears showing as the search for food. Because of their feeding method, teals are more buoyant than diving ducks.

Cape Teal (Anas capensis), Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera), Bernier’s Teal (Anas bernieri), Mascarene Teal (Anas theodori), Sunda Teal (Anas gibberifrons), Andaman Teal (Anas albogularis), Grey Teal (Anas gracilis), Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea), Auckland Teal (Anas aucklandica), Campbell Teal (Anas nesiotis), Brown Teal (Anas chlorotis), Red-billed Teal (Anas erythrorhyncha), Yellow-billed Teal (Anas flavirostris), Andean Teal (Anas andium), Baikal Teal (Anas formosa), Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca), Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis), Silver Teal (Anas versicolor), Puna Teal (Anas puna), Hottentot Teal (Anas hottentota)
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 Gadwall (Anas strepera) by Nikhil Devasar

Gadwall (Anas strepera) by Nikhil Devasar

The gadwall is a quieter duck, except during its courtship display.

Gadwall (Anas strepera)
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Falcated Duck (Anas falcata) at Wings of Asia by Lee

Falcated Duck (Anas falcata) at Wings of Asia by Lee

Ducks are mostly aquatic birds, mostly smaller than the swans and geese, and may be found in both fresh water and sea water.
Falcated Duck (Anas falcata), African Black Duck (Anas sparsa), American Black Duck (Anas rubripes), Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula), Mexican Duck (Anas diazi), Hawaiian Duck (Anas wyvilliana), Laysan Duck (Anas laysanensis), Philippine Duck (Anas luzonica), Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa), Indian Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha), Eastern Spot-billed Duck (Anas zonorhyncha), Yellow-billed Duck (Anas undulata), Meller’s Duck (Anas melleri)
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Mallards by Dan

Mallards by Dan

The male mallards (drakes) have a glossy green head and are grey on wings and belly, while the females (hens or ducks) have mainly brown-speckled plumage.
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
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American Wigeon (Anas americana) by Daves BirdingPix

American Wigeon (Anas americana) by Daves BirdingPix

The wigeons are similarly shaped, with a steep forehead and bulbous rear to the head.

Chiloe Wigeon (Anas sibilatrix), Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope), American Wigeon (Anas americana), Amsterdam Wigeon (Anas marecula),
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Northern Shoveler Male Close Up

Northern Shoveler Male Close Up

The shovelers (American English), or shovellers (British English), are four species of dabbling ducks with long, broad spatula-shaped beaks:

Cape Shoveler (Anas smithii), Red Shoveler (Anas platalea), Australasian Shoveler (Anas rhynchotis), Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
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Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) ©USFWS

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) ©USFWS

The Pintail is a large duck, and the male’s long central tail feathers give rise to the species’ English and scientific names.

White-cheeked Pintail (Anas bahamensis), Yellow-billed Pintail (Anas georgica), Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), Eaton’s Pintail (Anas eatoni)
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Garganey (Anas querquedula) by Nikhil Devasar

Garganey (Anas querquedula) by Nikhil Devasar

Garganey (Anas querquedula)
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“And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.” (John 6:18-20 KJV)

“Ship Ahoy”~  from “Great is Thy Faithfulness” by Dr. Richard Gregory

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More Sunday Inspirations

Sharing The Gospel

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Sunday Inspiration – More Anatidae Swimmers

Ringed Teal (Callonetta leucophrys ©WikiC

Ringed Teal (Callonetta leucophrys ©WikiC

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. (Gen 1:21-22 KJV)

Today we only have 22 more Anatidae family members to show you, but it will take 14 different genera to present them. The largest and the first genus, with 7 species, is the Shelducks.

Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) at Wing of Asia by Dan

Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) at Wing of Asia by Dan

Shelducks are large birds in the Tadorna genus. Many consider them as intermediate between geese and ducks in size. The sexes are colored slightly differently in most species, and all have a characteristic upperwing coloration in flight: the tertiary remiges form a green speculum, the secondaries and primaries are black, and the coverts (forewing) are white. Their diet consists of small shore animals (winkles, crabs etc.) as well as grasses and other plants.

The genus name comes from the French name Tadorne for the common shelduck. It may originally derive from Celtic roots meaning “pied waterfowl”, essentially the same as the English “shelduck”

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea)  at Wings of Asia by Lee

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) at Wings of Asia by Lee

Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah)
Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea)
South African Shelduck (Tadorna cana)
Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides)
Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegata)

  • Paradise Shelducks of New Zealand often have one mating partner for life.

Crested Shelduck (Tadorna cristata)

Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) by Ian

Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) by Ian

Each of the next 5 Ducks and Teals are the only ones in their genus.

Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) ©WikiC

Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) ©WikiC

Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus)

Salvadori's Teal (Salvadorina waigiuensis) ©Drawing WikiC

Salvadori’s Teal (Salvadorina waigiuensis) ©Drawing WikiC

Salvadori’s Teal (Salvadoran waigiuensis)

Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)

  • Ducks have been domesticated as pets and farm animals for more than 500 years, and all domestic ducks are descended from either the mallard or the Muscovy duck. Mallards, especially, are easy to crossbreed with other types of ducks, and mallards often hybridize with all types of ducks at local ponds.
White-winged Duck (Asarcornis scutulata) by Nikhil

White-winged Duck (Asarcornis scutulata) by Nikhil

White-winged Duck (Asarcornis scutulata)

Hartlaub's Duck (Pteronetta hartlaubii) ©WikiC

Hartlaub’s Duck (Pteronetta hartlaubii) ©WikiC

Hartlaub’s Duck (Pteronetta hartlaubii)

Two of my favorite Ducks, which we get to see often, are the Wood and Mandarin Ducks in the Aix genus. The Wood Ducks are local to us and are a treat to see their evidence of the Master’s Hand. Their cousin, the Mandarin Ducks are in many zoos and Lakeland, FL (right near here) placed some in one of their lakes.

Wood Duck and Mandarin Duck

Wood Duck and Mandarin Duck

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)

Maned Duck (Chenonetta jubata) ©AGrosset

Maned Duck (Chenonetta jubata) ©AGrosset

The Maned Duck is again an only species in its genus, the Chenonetta.
Maned Duck (Chenonetta jubata)

Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) by Lee

Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) by Lee

The Pygmy Geese are only three, but are in two different genera. The Nerthus and the Nettapus.
African Pygmy Goose (Nerthus auritus)
Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus)
Green Pygmy Goose (Nettapus pulchellus)

The last four for today are in four genera, and include two Teals and two Ducks.

Brazilian Teal (Amazonetta brasiliensis) ©WikiC

Brazilian Teal (Amazonetta brasiliensis) ©WikiC

Brazilian Teal (Amazonetta brasiliensis)

Ringed Teal (Callonetta leucophrys) by Dan at Zoo Miami

Ringed Teal (Callonetta leucophrys) by Dan at Zoo Miami

Ringed Teal (Callonetta leucophrys)

Crested Duck (Lophonetta specularioides) ©WikiC

Crested Duck (Lophonetta specularioides) ©WikiC

Crested Duck (Lophonetta specularioides) EXTINCT

Bronze-winged Duck (Speculanas specularis) ©WikiC

Bronze-winged Duck (Speculanas specularis) ©WikiC

Bronze-winged Duck (Speculanas specularis)

One of the comments made last week mentioned that they didn’t realize how many Ducks and family members there are. Here are a couple of “Duck Facts”:

The duck is a number of species in the Anatidae family of birds. They are related to swans and geese.

  • Ducks are mostly aquatic birds living in both fresh water and sea water and found on every continent except for Antarctica.
  • A male duck is called a drake, a female duck a hen, and a baby duck a duckling.
  • Ducks are omnivores. They feed on aquatic plants, small fish, insects, worms, grubs and more. People often feed domesticated ducks bread.
  • Diving ducks and sea ducks search for food fairly deep underwater. To be able to stay underwater more easily, diving ducks are quite heavy.
  • Dabbling ducks feed on the surface of water, on land, or by ducking their head underwater. Along the edge of their beak is a comb-like structure called a pecten, that enables them to hold slippery food and filter nutrients out of the water.

These Facts are from Fun Duck Facts for Kids (and adults)

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There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen: (Job 28:7 KJV)

“God’s Greatness Medley” ~ Faith Baptist Orchestra

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More Sunday Inspirations

Anatidae – Ducks, Geese and Swans Family

Sunday Inspiration – Whistling, White-backed Ducks, and Geese

Sunday Inspiration – Geese and Swans

Sunday Inspiration – Duck and Geese

Hope for Hard Times

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Sunday Inspiration – Ducks and Geese

Orinoco Goose (Neochen Jubata) by Lee

Orinoco Goose (Neochen Jubata) by Lee

“With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.” (Job 12:13 KJV)

It’s Sunday and time for some more of the Anatidae Family. We have 18 more great swimmers for you to check out. These are in 10 different genera, with 9 Ducks, 9 Geese and 2 sheldgeese. The Lord created all of these with shapes and colors, but they all love being in or near water.

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) by Lee at Zoo Miami

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) by Lee at Zoo Miami

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) – is a waterfowl species endemic to Australia and is among the rarest waterfowl in the world. The freckled duck has also been referred to as the monkey duck or the oatmeal duck in English, Punktchenente in German, canard mouchete in French and pato manchado in Spanish. These birds are usually present in mainland Australia, but disperse to coastal and subcostal wetlands in the dry period. During such times it is common for the freckled duck population to congregate in flocks in the same area, giving the impression that they are more common than they really are.

The freckled duck has a distinctive appearance. It is characterized, in adults, by dark grey to black plumage covered with small white flecks, which gives the duck the ‘freckled’ look. The feet, legs and bill of both sexes is of a slate grey color. Hatchlings and juveniles are distinguished by a uniform light grey plumage, which they lose around their 32nd week when they undergo a full body molt to assume the adult plumage.

In the past few decades, several institutions have established breeding programs to aid in supplementation of the freckled duck population. and Zoo Miami is one of the ones in this program. We saw these on our latest trip to the zoo.

Blue Duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos) ©Flickr Phillip Capper

Blue Duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos) is endemic to New Zealand. (Also known as “Whio”) It is the only member of the genus Hymenolaimus. It is an endemic resident breeder in New Zealand, nesting in hollow logs, small caves and other sheltered spots. It is a rare duck, holding territories on fast flowing mountain rivers. It is a powerful swimmer even in strong currents, but is reluctant to fly. It is difficult to find, but not particularly wary when located.

Captive North Island Whio are held and bred on both main islands of New Zealand, but the progeny are returned to their respective island. South Island whio are held and bred in captivity on the South Island only. All captives are kept by approved and permitted zoological and wildlife facilities as part of the national recovery plan. As part of this current ten-year plan (2009-2019) is the WHIONE program which works with specially trained nose dogs to locate nests. The eggs removed and ducklings hatched and raised in captivity. Later they are conditioned for coordinated release. Sounds like they are continuing the Genesis mandate. (Genesis 1:26-28)  * The blue duck is depicted on the reverse side of the New Zealand $10 banknote.

Falkland Steamer Duck (Tachyeres brachypterus) by Dave's BirdingPix

Falkland Steamer Duck (Tachyeres brachypterus) by Dave’s BirdingPix

The Steamer Ducks are a genus (Tachyeres) of ducks in the family Anatidae. All of the four species occur at the southern cone of South America in Chile and Argentina, and all except the Flying Steamer Duck are flightless; even this one species capable of flight rarely takes to the air. The genus name Tachyeres, “having fast oars” or “fast rower”, comes from Ancient Greek ταχυ- “fast” + ἐρέσσω “I row (as with oars)”. The common name “steamer ducks” arose because, when swimming fast, they flap their wings into the water as well as using their feet, creating an effect like a paddle steamer. They can be aggressive and are capable of chasing off predators like petrels.

The Steamer Ducks are the Flying Steamer Duck (Tachyeres patachonicus), Fuegian Steamer Duck (Tachyeres pteneres), Falkland Steamer Duck (Tachyeres brachypterus), and the Chubut Steamer Duck (Tachyeres leucocephalus)

Torrent Duck (Merganetta armata) by Robert Scanlon

Torrent Duck (Merganetta armata) by Robert Scanlon

Torrent Duck (Merganetta armata) is the only member of the genus Merganetta. Its closest relative may be the blue duck of New Zealand.
This 43–46-centimetre (17–18 in) long species is a resident breeder in the Andes of South America, nesting in small waterside caves and other sheltered spots. Like the blue duck, it holds territories on fast flowing mountain rivers, usually above 1,500 metres (4,900 ft). It is a powerful swimmer and diver even in white water, but is reluctant to fly more than short distances. It is not particularly wary when located.
Male torrent ducks have a striking black and white head and neck pattern and a red bill. In flight they show dark wings with a green speculum. Females of all subspecies are somewhat smaller than the drakes; they have orange underparts and throat, with the head and upperparts grey and a yellower bill. Juveniles are pale grey above and whitish below.

Spur-winged Goose (Plectropterus gambensis) by Bob-Nan

Spur-winged Goose (Plectropterus gambensis) by Bob-Nan

Spur-winged Goose (Plectropterus gambensis) is a large bird in the family Anatidae, related to the geese and the shelducks, but distinct from both of these in a number of anatomical features, and therefore treated in its own subfamily, the Plectropterinae. It occurs in wetlands throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Adults are 75–115 cm (30–45 in) long and weigh on average 4–6.8 kg (8.8–15.0 lb), rarely up to 10 kg (22 lb), with males noticeably larger than the females. The wingspan can range from 150 to 200 cm (59 to 79 in).

This species often occurs in open grasslands with lakes, seasonal pools, rivers, swamps and river deltas. Large inland rivers and lakes are perhaps most commonly inhabited, with saline lakes and upland areas generally being avoided, although the species can occur to an elevation of 3,000 m (9,800 ft) in eastern Africa. It is also absent from arid zones.

Comb Duck (Sarkidiornis sylvicola) by Nikhil Devasar

Comb Duck (Sarkidiornis sylvicola) by Nikhil Devasar

Comb Duck (Sarkidiornis sylvicola) and Knob-billed Duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos) are an unusual, pan-tropical duck, found in tropical wetlands in sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and south Asia from Pakistan to Laos and extreme southern China. It also occurs in continental South America south to the Paraguay River region in eastern Paraguay, southeastern Brazil and the extreme northeast of Argentina, and as a vagrant on Trinidad. These were subspecies that have both been raise to full species status.

These common species are unmistakable. One of the largest species of duck. Length can range from 56 to 76 cm (22 to 30 in), wingspan ranges from 116 to 145 cm (46 to 57 in) and weight from 1.03 to 2.9 kg (2.3 to 6.4 lb). Adults have a white head freckled with dark spots, and a pure white neck and underparts. The upperparts are glossy blue-black upperparts, with bluish and greenish iridescence especially prominent on the secondaries (lower arm feathers). The male is much larger than the female, and has a large black knob on the bill. Young birds are dull buff below and on the face and neck, with dull brown upperparts, top of the head and eyestripe.

Blue-winged Goose (Cyanochen cyanoptera) at Zoo ©WikiC

Blue-winged Goose (Cyanochen cyanoptera) at Zoo ©WikiC

Blue-winged Goose (Cyanochen cyanoptera)  is a waterfowl species which is endemic to Ethiopia. It is the only member of the genus Cyanochen. This is a stocky grey-brown bird about 70 centimetres (28 in) long with a slightly paler head and upper neck. It has a small black bill and black legs. In flight, this species shows a pale blue forewing. Sexes are similar, but immature birds are duller. The plumage of these birds is thick and loose, furlike as an adaptation to the cold of the Ethiopian highlands.

It feeds by grazing, and is apparently largely nocturnal, loafing during the day. It can swim and fly well, but this terrestrial bird is reluctant to do either, and is quite approachable. It forms flocks outside the breeding season. It breeds by mountain lakes and streams. This little-known species is believed to build a lined nest amongst grass tussocks, and to lay 6–7 eggs.

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) by Daves BirdingPix

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) by Daves BirdingPix

The Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) is native to Africa south of the Sahara and the Nile Valley. The other two species, Mauritius Sheldgoose (Alopochen mauritiana) became extinct in 1698 and Reunion Sheldgoose (Alopochen kervazoi) was extinct in the 1690’s. Both were over hunted.

Egyptian geese were considered sacred by the Ancient Egyptians, and appeared in much of their artwork. They have been raised for food and extensively bred in parts of Africa since they were domesticated by the ancient Egyptians. Because of their popularity chiefly as ornamental bird, escapes are common and small feral populations have become established in Western Europe.

Orinoco Goose (Neochen jubata) ©WikiC

Orinoco Goose (Neochen jubata) ©WikiC

Orinoco Goose (Neochen jubata) are 61 to 76 cm (24 to 30 in) long and are resident breeders in the forests of tropical South America. Its preference is forest lakes or marshes with access to open woodland or savanna. This is a largely terrestrial species, which will also perch readily in trees. It rarely swims or flies unless hard pressed. In flight it looks heavy, more like a goose than a duck, hence the English name.

It has a pale head and neck, chestnut flanks and mantle and blackish wings with a white speculum. The legs are red and the bill is black and pinkish. The sexes of this striking species are identical in plumage, though the males are larger; juveniles have duller plumage than adults.

Upland Goose (Chloephaga picta) by Daves BirdingPix

Upland Goose (Chloephaga picta) by Daves BirdingPix

The Chloephaga genus is made up of these Geese all from South America. The Andean Goose (Chloephaga melanoptera), Upland Goose (Chloephaga picta), Kelp Goose (Chloephaga hybrida), Ashy-headed Goose (Chloephaga poliocephala), and the Ruddy-headed Goose (Chloephaga rubidiceps). They are considered part of the Sheldgeese subfamily.

Sheldgoose, any of the larger members of the duck tribe Tadornini, family Anatidae (order Anseriformes). The smaller members of the tribe are called shelducks. Sheldgeese inhabit tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. They are small-billed and rather long-legged, with upright stance; some have bony spurs—which function as weapons—at the wing bend. Typically they show white wing patches and are finely black-barred below. They are not true geese, though they resemble them in some anatomic features.” Encyclopaedia Britannica

(Information from Wikipedia with editing)

 

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“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1Co 15:52 KJV)

“I Will Rise” ~ Margaret and Sue, accompanied by Amy – cello and Jill – Keyboard

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More Sunday Inspirations

Anatidae – Ducks, Geese and Swans Family

Falling Plates

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Sunday Inspiration – Whistling, White-backed Ducks, and Geese

Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) at Palm Beach Zoo by Lee

Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) at Palm Beach Zoo by Lee

 “And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier-eagle,” (Leviticus 11:18)

I have always enjoyed trying to whistle and today we lead off our latest Family, the Anatidae, in the Answeriformes Order. The Anatidae family has ducks, geese, swans, and a few others that add up to 173 species. The Whistling Ducks do make a whistling sound, which I notice more when they are flying. We have the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks here locally. In fact, some hang out at the pond in our housing area.

Anat Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) by Lee at Palm Beach Zoo

Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) by Lee at Palm Beach Zoo

Audio of a Black-bellied Whistling Duck from xeno-canto.

The Anatidae are the biological family of birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans. The family has a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring on all the world’s continents. These birds are adapted for swimming, floating on the water surface, and in some cases diving in at least shallow water. (The magpie goose is no longer considered to be part of the Anatidae, but is placed in its own family

They are generally herbivorous, and are monogamous breeders. A number of species undertake annual migrations. A few species have been domesticated for agriculture, and many others are hunted for food and recreation. Five species have become extinct since 1600, and many more are threatened with extinction.

White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) ©WikiC

White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) ©WikiC

Whistling ducks are found in the tropics and subtropics. As their name implies, they have distinctive whistling calls. The whistling ducks have long legs and necks, and are very gregarious, flying to and from night-time roosts in large flocks. Both sexes have the same plumage, and all have a hunched appearance and black underwings in flight.

White-backed Duck (Thalassornis leuconotus) ©WikiC

White-backed Duck (Thalassornis leuconotus) ©WikiC

The white-backed duck (Thalassornis leuconotus) is a waterbird of the family Anatidae. It is distinct from all other ducks, but most closely related to the whistling ducks in the subfamily Dendrocygninae, though also showing some similarities to the stiff-tailed ducks in the subfamily Oxyurinae. It is the only member of the genus Thalassornis.

These birds are well adapted for diving. On occasions they have been observed to stay under water for up to half a minute. They search especially for the bulbs of waterlilies. From danger, they also escape preferentially by diving; hence, the namesake white back is hardly visible in life. (Information from Wikipedia)

Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) by Ian 2

Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) by Ian

The black geese of the genus Branta are waterfowl belonging to the true geese and swans subfamily Anserinae. They occur in the northern coastal regions of the Palearctic and all over North America, migrating to more southernly coasts in winter, and as resident birds in the Hawaiian Islands. Alone in the Southern Hemisphere, a self-sustaining feral population derived from introduced Canada geese is also found in New Zealand.

The scientific name Branta is a Latinised form of Old Norse Brandgás, “burnt (black) goose). The black geese derive their vernacular name for the prominent areas of black coloration found in all species. They can be distinguished from all other true geese by their legs and feet, which are black or very dark grey. Furthermore, they have black bills and large areas of black on the head and neck, with white (ochre in one species) markings that can be used to tell apart most species.[note 1] As with most geese, their undertail and uppertail coverts are white. They are also on average smaller than other geese, though some very large taxa are known, which rival the swan goose and the black-necked swan in size.

Nene (Branta sandvicensis) ©WikiC

Nene (Branta sandvicensis) ©WikiC

The Nene (Branta sandvicensis), also known as nēnē and Hawaiian goose, is a species of goose endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The official bird of the state of Hawaiʻi, the nene is exclusively found in the wild on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, Molokai, and Hawaiʻi. The Hawaiian name nēnē comes from its soft call. The species name sandvicensis refers to the Sandwich Islands, an old name for the Hawaiian Islands. (Above information from Wikipedia)

The first two photos show how the different zoos call the same bird by different names. This is why the scientific name is very important. Also, Dan and I have been fortunate to have seen most of these birds either in the wild or in zoos. It is always a joy to watch the Lord’s Creations in person.

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I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: (Ecclesiastes 2:6)

In those pools of water, most likely you will find one of these.

“I’d Rather Have Jesus” ~ by Faith Baptist Orchestra*

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ANSERIFORMES Order

Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans Family

Falling Plates

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Birds of Asia – Cotton Pygmy Goose

Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) at Wings of Asia by Lee

Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) at Wings of Asia by Lee

 And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. (1 Kings 4:33 KJV)

Let me introduce you to another interesting avian friend from His Creator’s Hand. This is the Cotton Pygmy Goose or Cotton Teal (Nettapus coromandelianus) which is a small perching duck that breeds in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, southeast Asia and south to northern Australia.

Small individuals of this species are the smallest waterfowl on earth, at as little as 5.6 oz (160 g) and 10 in (26 cm). White predominates in this bird’s plumage. Bill short, deep at base, and goose-like.

Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) PB Zoo by Lee

Male in breeding plumage is glossy blackish green crown, with white head, neck, and underparts; a prominent black collar and white wing-bar. Rounded head and short legs. In flight, the wings are green with a white band, making the male conspicuous even amongst the huge flying flocks of the lesser whistling duck, which share the habitat. Female paler, without either black collar and only a narrow or nonexistent strip of white wing-bar. In non-breeding plumage (eclipse) male resembles female except for his white wing-bar. Flocks on water bodies (jheels), etc.

The call is a peculiar clucking, uttered in flight

It is largely resident, apart from dispersion in the wet season, but Chinese birds make long-distance migrations to winter further south. It nests in tree holes, laying 8–15 eggs. The nesting season is July to September (SW. monsoon). Its nest is a natural hollow in a tree-trunk standing in or near water, sometimes lined with grass, rubbish and feathers. The eggs, are ivory white.

Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) at Wings of Asia by Lee

Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) at Wings of Asia by Lee

This is an abundant species in Asia, although the slightly larger Australian race appears to be declining in numbers.

Found on all still freshwater lakes (jheels), rain-filled ditches, inundated paddy fields, irrigation tanks, etc. Becomes very tame on village tanks wherever it is unmolested and has become inured to human proximity. Swift on the wing, and can dive creditably on occasion.[citation needed] Found in ponds and lakes in southern Pakistan . However numbers are declining and it is definitely endangered.

Its food is chiefly seeds and vegetable matter, especially water lilies; also insects, crustaceans, etc. (From Wikipedia with editing)

I enjoyed watching this female Pygmy Goose floating and took a short video of her.

I just made a page for  Zoo Miami and the Wings of Asia under the Birdwatching Trips. There are most of the articles that have been written about our visits to the Zoo, but especially to the Wings of Asia Aviary. That is where we spend most of our time. This last trip was our fourth visit down to Miami to see those amazing birds.

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Cotton Pygmy Goose – Wikipedia

Cotton Pygmy Goose – Ducks of the World

Birds of the World

Birdwatching Trips

Zoo Miami and the Wings of Asia

Wordless Birds

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Ruddy and Raja Shelducks at Wings of Asia

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) at Wings of Asia by Dan

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) at Wings of Asia by Dan

We enjoyed our latest birdwatching adventure to Zoo Miami. Caught video of the Ruddy Shelducks discussing something. So this time we will share the two species of Shelducks at the Wings of Asia aviary. The Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) and the Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) are members of the duck, goose and swan family Anatidae – Ducks, Geese and Swans. They are in the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae. There are seven species in the Tadorninae subfamily. Wings of Asia has the Ruddy and Raja Shelducks.

Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. (Psalms 104:1 KJV)

The Lord has provided for the Shelducks, as He does for all His critters. They are designed for the conditions they live in, in this case swimming, feeding and migrating, with beaks, feet, wings, and coloration to help them survive.

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) at ZM

Ruddy –  There are very small resident populations of this species in north west Africa and Ethiopia, but the main breeding area of this species is from southeast Europe across central Asia to Southeast Asia. These birds are mostly migratory, wintering in the Indian Subcontinent.

Facts:

  • They are sometimes called Brahminy Ducks.
  • Can be seen in many Zoos in America.
  • In Tibet and Mongolia, Ruddy Shelduck is considered sacred by the Buddhists. It is also a sacred animal in Slavic mythology.

Although becoming quite rare in southeast Europe and southern Spain, the ruddy shelduck is still common across much of its Asian range. It may be this population which gives rise to vagrants as far west as Iceland, Great Britain and Ireland. However, since the European population is declining, it is likely that most occurrences in western Europe in recent decades are escapes or feral birds. Although this bird is observed in the wild from time to time in eastern North America, no evidence of a genuine vagrant has been found.

This is a bird of open country, and it will breed on cliffs, in burrows, tree holes or crevices distant from water, laying 6-16 creamy-white eggs, incubated for 30 days. The both shelduck is usually found in pairs or small groups and rarely forms large flocks. However, moulting and wintering gatherings on chosen lakes or slow rivers can be very large.

The ruddy shelduck is a distinctive species, 22.8-27.5 in (58-70) cm long with a 43-53 in (110–135 cm) wingspan. It has orange-brown body plumage and a paler head. The wings are white with black flight feathers. It swims well, and in flight looks heavy, more like a goose than a duck. The sexes of this striking species are similar, but the male has a black ring at the bottom of the neck in the breeding season summer, and the female often has a white face patch. The call is a loud wild honking.

Not sure what these Ruddy’s were debating about, but it seems the single one lost the discussion and left.

 

 

The ruddy shelduck is a common winter visitor in India. This bird is found in large wetlands, rivers with mud flats and shingle banks. Found in large congregation on lakes and reservoirs. It breeds in high altitude lakes and swamps in Jammu & Kashmir. Arrives in north India by October and departs by April. The genus name Tadorna comes from Celtic roots and means “pied waterfowl”, essentially the same as the English “shelduck”.

Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) at Wing of Asia by Dan

Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) at Wing of Asia by Dan

Raja Shelduck – The Radjah Shelduck (Tadorna radjah), is a species of shelduck found mostly in New Guinea and Australia, and also on some of the Moluccas. It is known alternatively as the raja shelduck (IOC Name), black-backed shelduck, or in Australia as the Burdekin duck.

The Raja Shelduck forms long-term pair-bonds, and is usually encountered in lone pairs or small flocks. During the wet season the males commonly become very irritable, and have been observed attacking their mates.

The diet consists mainly of mollusks, insects, sedge materials and algae. Pairs start searching for nesting sites during the months of January and February. They nest close to their primary food source, often in the hollow limbs of trees, which makes habitat destruction a particular issue.

Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) by Dan at Zoo Miami

Raja Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) by Dan at Zoo Miami

The radjah shelduck does not use nesting materials except for some self-supplied down feathers. Egg-laying is usually done by May or June, but depends on the extent of the wet season. The clutches range from 6 to 12 eggs. Incubation time is about 30 days. (Wikipedia edited)

Here are photos of both Shelducks. Some of the photos are from other trips and some from Ian. (PBZ is Palm Beach Zoo)

 

 

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Bible Birds – Swan Introduction

Bible Birds – Swan Introduction

Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan'sPix

Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan’sPix

“And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,” (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)

“The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,” (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV)

Swans are mentioned in these two verses in the KJV Bible. Some other versions list it as another bird. For now, let us learn about the beautiful Swans that the Lord created.

Both of the Swan verses above are found in the “do not eat” list that the Lord gave to the “children of the LORD your God.” Who would want to eat such great looking birds?

Swans are in the Anatidae Family which includes Ducks, Geese and Swans. There are seven species which include these:

Coscoroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba)
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)
Black-necked Swan (Cygnus melancoryphus)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)
Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

Some Interesting Facts:

  • The Trumpeter Swan has the most contour feathers of any bird. (25,216) That doesn’t count the downy feathers.
  • Swans can fly as fast as 60 miles per hour!
  • A male swan is called a cob, and a female swan is called a pen.
  • A baby swan is called a cygnet.
  • The largest species, including the mute swan, trumpeter swan, and whooper swan, can reach length of over 1.5 m (60 inches) and weigh over 15 kg (33 pounds). Their wingspans can be almost 3 m (10 ft).

 

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Bible Birds – Swan

Birds of the Bible – Swan

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black Swan

Anatidae – Ducks, Geese and Swans Family

Wordless Birds

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Birds of the Bible – Whistling Ducks

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks forming V

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks forming V

We keep encountering Whistling Ducks as we visit the zoos and as we go birdwatching, especially at Circle B Bar Reserve. There we get to see the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks quite frequently. At Palm Beach Zoo, I got tickled at the feet of the Black-bellieds. This week at Lowry Park Zoo, we took photos of their Spotted Whistling Duck which are fairly new residents.

Spotted Whistling Duck by Lee at LPZ Cropped

Spotted Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna guttata) by Lee at LPZ

I checked the e-Sword Bible program and can not find any “Ducks” or “Waterfowl” in Scripture by name, only in references to all birds being created, etc. They are still neatly created birds and are a joy to watch.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Feet by Lee at PB Zoo

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Feet by Lee at PB Zoo

There are three verses that refer to a “whistle” and in all of them it is the Lord who is doing the whistling.

He will lift up a banner to the nations from afar, And will whistle to them from the end of the earth; Surely they shall come with speed, swiftly. (Isaiah 5:26 NKJV) (For judgment)

And it shall come to pass in that day That the LORD will whistle for the fly That is in the farthest part of the rivers of Egypt, And for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. (Isaiah 7:18 NKJV) (For judgment)

I will whistle for them and gather them, For I will redeem them; And they shall increase as they once increased. (Zechariah 10:8 NKJV) (for redemption)

Whistling ducks are found in the tropics and subtropics. As their name implies, they have distinctive whistling calls. The whistling ducks have long legs and necks, and are very gregarious, flying to and from night-time roosts in large flocks. Both sexes have the same plumage, and all have a hunched appearance and black underwings in flight.

The first whistling ducks were described by Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae in 1758: the Black-bellied Whistling Duck (then Anas autumnalis) and the West Indian Whistling Duck (then Anas arborea). In 1837, William John Swainson named the genus Dendrocygna to distinguish whistling ducks from the other waterfowl.

The whistling ducks or tree ducks are a subfamily, Dendrocygninae of the duck, goose and swan family of birds, Anatidae. They are not true ducks. In other taxonomic schemes, they are either considered a separate family Dendrocygnidae, or a tribe Dendrocygnini in the goose subfamily Anserinae. The subfamily has one genus, Dendrocygna, which contains eight living species, and one undescribed extinct species from Aitutaki of the Cook Islands.

The eight species of whistling duck are currently recognized in the genus Dendrocygna. However, Johnsgard considers the White-backed Duck (Thalassornis leuconotus) from Africa and Madagascar to be distinct ninth species, a view first proposed in 1960 and initially supported by behavioral similarities. Later, similarities in anatomy, duckling vocalizations, and feather proteins gave additional support. Molecular analysis in 2009 also suggested that the White-backed Duck was nested within the whistling duck clade. (Wikipedia with editing)

White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) by Dan

Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

Spotted Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna guttata) by Ian

West Indian Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arborea)

Fulvous Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)

Plumed Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna eytoni) Zoo Miami’s by Dan

Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata) – Video by Nick

Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica) Zoo Miami’s by Dan

White-backed Duck (Thalassornis leuconotus) ©WikiC

(All sounds are from xeno-canto, but they didn’t have an audio for the White-backed Duck)

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Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans Family Page

Wikipedia’s pages for the Whistling Ducks and the White-backed Duck

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Freckled Duck

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) by Ian

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Freckled Duck ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 9/30/13

Several friends have inquired how I got on with the quest for Freckled Duck photos a fortnight ago, so here it is as bird of the week as it’s a rare and unusual duck, even if these ones didn’t want to cooperate in the portrait photo category. There were perhaps a dozen or more at the reported site of Hasties Swamp just south of Atherton town, but only two came within cooee of the hide and spent most of the day sitting on this log. Note the diagnostic ski-jump-shaped bill and the slight peak on the head of the bird on the end of the log. The duck beside this one is a Hardhead, so they’re approximately the same size.

It was a lovely day at Hasties (second photo), so it was no hardship loafing there waiting for the ducks to do something. The log the ducks liked is the farther one in this photo, but this was taken with my phone and makes it look farther away than it actually is. It’s a two storey hide, and this was taken from the upper deck, though I spent most of the time downstairs. The log was popular with various species of ducks including Pacific Blacks and Grey Teal, so the Freckled Ducks, all in non-breeding garb were easy to overlook.

Hasties Swamp, Atherton Tableland by Ian

Very occasionally, one of the ducks would swim over to a smaller log (hidden behind the branch in the second photo) and peck at a coot if it came too close. You can see the coot in the third photo.

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) by Ian

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) by Ian

Sometimes it would swim away to feed, but always on the other side of the log. In the fourth photo it is maybe contemplating such a foray, and is testing the water behind one of several Nankeen Night-Herons that came out to feed in the late afternoon – apparently they roost in the trees near the hide.

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) by Ian

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) by Ian

The fifth photo shows a distant pair of Freckled Ducks thirteen years ago in breeding condition at Werribee in Victoria and you can see the characteristic red colour of the male. The peaks look more conspicuous on both sexes, but I don’t know whether these feathers grow longer then or whether they are erectile.

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) by Ian

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) by Ian

So why is this rather drab duck so interesting to both birders and avian taxonomists? Firstly, it’s endemic to Australia and rare, particular in North Queensland. It’s main breeding range is in inland areas of New South Wales, Victoria, Southern Western Australia (an isolated population) and the channel country of Southwestern Queensland where breeding takes place in densely vegetated lakes and swamps, including lignum in more arid floodplains. When these areas dry out, the birds move to the coast, which is when they become easier to find. Presumably the birds currently in North Queensland (they’ve been reported in both Townsville and the Atherton Tableland) are from the Cooper’s Creek and Paroo River catchments.

Secondly, taxonomists find the Freckled Duck interesting because it has no close relatives. It is the only member of the genus Stictonetta and both morphological and DNA studies support placing it in own sub-family that diverged from other ducks and geese very early on. The name Stictonetta means ‘spotted duck’ in Greek and, in a case of tautological overkill, naevosa means ‘spot abundance’ in Latin.

I was going to include a Snake of the Week but this is getting rather long, so I’ll hold it over till next time.

Best wishes
Ian

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Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

What birdwatchers and photographers won’t go through to find those special and rare birds. Thanks, Ian, for showing us yet another interesting member of the Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans Family. I am so thankful that Ian is letting me share his newsletters here on this blog. We have been introduced to numerous birds we have never have heard of, let along seen.

Check out all of Ian’s Anatidae Family photos.

Here are a few more facts about this duck from Wikipedia. The Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) is a moderately large, broad-bodied duck native to southern Australia. The duck is protected by law. Dark in colour with fine off-white speckles all over, it is most easily identified by its large head with a peaked (as opposed to rounded) crown.

The Freckled Duck feeds by dabbling in shallow water, often by wading near the edge. It prefers large, well-vegetated swamps, but moves to open water after breeding or in dry periods.

In flight, it has a distinctive rapid wing beat and holds its head low, making it appear hunchbacked. It does not turn rapidly and lands clumsily.

In dry years, the ephemeral wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin and Lake Eyre disappear and Freckled Ducks migrate to permanent water in coastal regions. This concentration in populated areas, coupled with their habit of circling repeatedly at low altitude when disturbed (even when being shot at) makes them particularly vulnerable to hunting.

See:

Freckled Duck – Wikipedia

Ian’s Anatidae Family photos

Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans Family

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