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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The dabbling ducks

The dabbling ducks are a group of eight genera and about 55 species of ducks, including some of the most familiar Northern Hemisphere species. They are in the duck, goose and swan family Anatidae. The latter article should be referred to for an overview of this very large family. The dabbling ducks, together with the diving ducks make up the sub-family Anatinae.
This group of ducks is so named because its members feed mainly on vegetable matter by upending on the water surface, or grazing, and only rarely dive. These are mostly gregarious ducks of freshwater or estuaries. These birds are strong fliers and northern species are highly migratory. Compared to other types of duck, their legs are placed more towards the centre of their bodies. They walk well on land, and some species feed terrestrially.
The Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris, which used to be included among the dabbling ducks, is now classed as a diving duck.

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