Mergini

The seaducks (Mergini) are a tribe of the duck subfamily of birds, the Anatinae. The taxonomy of this group is incomplete. Some authorities separate the group as a subfamily, others remove some genera from the group and keep others. Most species within the group spend their winters near coastal waters. Many species have developed specialized salt glands to allow them to tolerate salt water but these are poorly developed in juveniles. Some of the species prefer riverine habitats. All but two of the 20 species in this group live in far northern latitudes.

The fish-eating members of this group, such as the mergansers and smew, have serrated edges to their bills to help them grip their prey and are often known as "sawbills". Other seaducks forage by diving underwater, taking molluscs or crustaceans from the sea floor. The Mergini take on the eclipse plumage during the late summer and molt into their breeding plumage during the winter.

Sea ducks
Histrionicus histrionicus drake Barnegat
Harlequin duck, Histrionicus histrionicus (male)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Anatinae
Tribe: Mergini
Rafinesque, 1815
Genera

Clangula
Histrionicus
Polysticta
Camptorhynchus
Somateria
Melanitta
Bucephala
Mergellus
Lophodytes
Mergus

Species

There are twenty-two species in ten genera:

Below is a phylogeny based on a mitogenomic study of the placement of the Labrador duck and the diving "goose" Chendytes lawi.[1]

Mergini

Clangula hyemalis

Histrionicus histrionicus

Polysticta stelleri

Camptorhynchus labradorius

Somateria fischeri

Somateria mollissima

Somateria spectabilis

Melanitta nigra

Melanitta deglandi

Melanitta perspicillata

Bucephala albeola

Bucephala clangula

Bucephala islandica

Mergellus albellus

Mergus serrator

Lophodytes cucullatus

Mergus merganser

Mergus octosetaceus

Mergus squamatus

References

  1. ^ Janet C. Buckner; Ryan Ellingson; David A. Gold; Terry L. Jones; David K. Jacobs (2018). "Mitogenomics supports an unexpected taxonomic relationship for the extinct diving duck Chendytes lawi and definitively places the extinct Labrador Duck". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. in press. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2017.12.008.
American tree sparrow

The American tree sparrow (Spizelloides arborea), also known as the winter sparrow, is a medium-sized sparrow.

It had been classified under the genus Spizella, but multilocus molecular evidence suggested placement in its own genus.

Adults have a rusty cap and grey underparts with a small dark spot on the breast. They have a rusty back with lighter stripes, brown wings with white bars and a slim tail. Their face is grey with a rusty line through the eye. Their flanks are splashed with light brown. They are similar in appearance to the chipping sparrow.

Their breeding habitat is tundra or the northern limits of the boreal forest in Alaska and northern Canada. They nest on the ground.

These birds migrate into southern Canada and the United States to spend the winter. Usually, chipping sparrows are moving south around the same time as these birds arrive.

These birds forage on the ground or in low bushes, often in flocks when not nesting. They mainly eat seeds and insects, but also eat some berries. They are commonly seen near feeders with dark-eyed juncos.

This bird's song is a sweet high warble descending in pitch and becoming buzzy near the finish.

Anatidae

The Anatidae are the biological family of water 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 family contains around 146 species in 43 genera. (The magpie goose is no longer considered to be part of the Anatidae and is now placed in its own family, Anseranatidae.)

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.

Anatinae

The Anatinae are a subfamily of the family Anatidae (swans, geese and ducks). Its surviving members are the dabbling ducks, which feed mainly at the surface rather than by diving. The other members of the Anatinae are the extinct moa-nalo, a young but highly apomorphic lineage derived from the dabbling ducks.

There has been much debate about the systematical status and which ducks belong to the Anatinae. Some taxonomic authorities only include the dabbling ducks and their close relatives, the extinct moa-nalos. Alternatively, the Anatinae are considered to include most "ducks", and the dabbling ducks form a tribe Anatini within these. The classification as presented here more appropriately reflects the remaining uncertainty about the interrelationships of the major lineages of Anatidae (waterfowl).

Anseriformes

Anseriformes is an order of birds that comprise about 180 living species in three families: Anhimidae (the 3 screamers), Anseranatidae (the magpie goose), and Anatidae, the largest family, which includes over 170 species of waterfowl, among them the ducks, geese, and swans. Most modern species in the order are highly adapted for an aquatic existence at the water surface. With the exception of screamers, all have phalli, a trait that has been lost in the Neoaves. Due to their aquatic nature, most species are web-footed.

Bambolinetta

Bambolinetta lignitifila is a fossil species of waterfowl from the Late Miocene of Italy, now classified as the sole member of the genus Bambolinetta. First described in 1884 as a typical dabbling duck, it was not revisited until 2014, when a study showed it to be a highly unusual duck species, probably a flightless, wing-propelled diver similar to a penguin.

Bluebird

The bluebirds are a group of medium-sized, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the order of Passerines in the genus Sialia of the thrush family (Turdidae). Bluebirds are one of the few thrush genera in the Americas. They have blue, or blue and rose beige, plumage. Female birds are less brightly colored than males, although color patterns are similar and there is no noticeable difference in size between the two sexes.

Chendytes

Chendytes lawi, commonly called the Law's diving-goose, was a goose-sized flightless sea duck, once common on the California coast, California Channel Islands, and possibly southern Oregon. It lived in the Pleistocene and survived into the Holocene. It appears to have gone extinct at about 450–250 BCE. The youngest direct radiocarbon date from a Chendytes bone fragment dates to 770–400 BCE and was found in an archeological site in Ventura County. Its remains have been found in fossil deposits and in early coastal archeological sites. Archeological data from coastal California show a record of human exploitation of Chendytes lawi for at least 8,000 years. It was probably driven to extinction by hunting, animal predation, and loss of habitat. There is nothing in the North American archaeological record indicating a span of exploitation for any megafaunal genus remotely as long as that of Chendytes.Although originally thought to be sea-diving duck in the tribe Mergini, analysis of ancient DNA sequences suggests that it is a basal member and a sister to the clade of extant dabbling ducks in the tribe Anatini.

Grassland sparrow

The grassland sparrow (Ammodramus humeralis) is a species of bird in the family Passerellidae. It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are dry savannah, subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, and pastureland.

Labrador duck

The Labrador duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius) was a North American bird; it has the distinction of being the first endemic North American bird species to become extinct after the Columbian Exchange, with the last known sighting occurring in 1878 in Elmira, New York. It was already a rare duck before European settlers arrived, and as a result of its rarity information on the Labrador duck is not abundant, although some, such as its habitat, characteristics, dietary habits and reasons behind its extinction, are known. There are 55 specimens of the Labrador duck preserved in museum collections worldwide.

Malaysian plover

The Malaysian plover (Charadrius peronii) is a small (c. 35–42 g) wader that nests on beaches and salt flats in Southeast Asia.

Mountain bluebird

The mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides) is a medium-sized bird weighing about 30 g (1.1 oz) with a length from 16–20 cm (6.3–7.9 in). They have light underbellies and black eyes. Adult males have thin bills and are bright turquoise-blue and somewhat lighter underneath. Adult females have duller blue wings and tail, grey breast, grey crown, throat and back. In fresh fall plumage, the female's throat and breast are tinged with red-orange, brownish near the flank contrasting with white tail underparts. Their call is a thin 'few'; while their song is warbled high 'chur chur'. It is the state bird of Idaho and Nevada. It is an omnivore and it can live 6 to 10 years in the wild. It eats spiders, grasshoppers, flies and other insects, and small fruits. The mountain bluebird is a relative of the eastern and western bluebirds.

Olive-sided flycatcher

The olive-sided flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) is a passerine bird. It is a medium-sized tyrant flycatcher.

Rallus

Rallus is a genus of wetland birds of the rail family. Sometimes, the genera Lewinia and Gallirallus are included in it. Six of the species are found in the Americas, and the three species found in Eurasia, Africa and Madagascar are very closely related to each other, suggesting they are descended from a single invasion of a New World ancestor.These are slim, long-billed rails with slender legs. Their laterally flattened bodies are an adaptation to life in wet reedbeds and marshes, enabling them to slip easily through the dense semi-aquatic vegetation. Typically these birds have streaked brown upperparts, blue-grey on the face or breast, and barred flanks. Only the African rail has a plain back, and the plain-flanked rail lacks any blue-grey in its plumage and has no flank bars.Three endemic South American species are endangered by habitat loss, and the Madagascan rail is becoming rare.

Red-kneed dotterel

The red-kneed dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus) is a species of plover in a monotypic genus in the subfamily Vanellinae. It is often gregarious and will associate with other waders of its own and different species, even when nesting. It is nomadic and sometimes irruptive.

Streaked spiderhunter

The streaked spiderhunter (Arachnothera magna) is a species of bird in the family Nectariniidae.

Surf scoter

The surf scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) is a large sea duck native to North America. Adult males are entirely black with characteristic white patches on the forehead and the nape and adult females are slightly smaller and browner. Surf scoters breed in Northern Canada and Alaska and winter along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America. Those diving ducks mainly feed on benthic invertebrates, mussels representing an important part of their diet.

Tadorninae

The Tadorninae is the shelduck-sheldgoose subfamily of the Anatidae, the biological family that includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl such as the geese and swans.

This group is largely tropical or Southern Hemisphere in distribution, with only two species, the common shelduck and the ruddy shelduck breeding in northern temperate regions, though the crested shelduck (presumed extinct) was also a northern species.

Most of these species have a distinctive plumage, but there is no pattern as to whether the sexes are alike, even within a single genus.

Western wood pewee

The western wood pewee (Contopus sordidulus) is a small tyrant flycatcher. Adults are gray-olive on the upperparts with light underparts, washed with olive on the breast. They have two wing bars and a dark bill with yellow at the base of the lower mandible. This bird is very similar in appearance to the eastern wood pewee; the two birds were formerly considered to be one species. The call of C. sordidulus is a loud buzzy peeer; the song consists of three rapid descending tsees ending with a descending peeer.

Whimbrel

The whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) is a wader in the large family Scolopacidae. It is one of the most widespread of the curlews, breeding across much of subarctic North America, Asia and Europe as far south as Scotland.

The whimbrel is a migratory bird wintering on coasts in Africa, southern North America, South America, and South Asia into Australasia. It is also a coastal bird during migration. It is fairly gregarious outside the breeding season.

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