Tag Archives: Anas

Anas gracilis ssp. ‘New Caledonia’

New Caledonian Grey Teal (Anas gracilis ssp.)

This form is known only from subfossil remains that had been found on the island of Grande Terre, New Caledonia.

This was probably an endemic form of the Grey Teal (Anas gracilis Buller), a species that is otherwise known from Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand, however, this species is sometimes found on New Caledonia as a vagrant, thus it is also possible that the subfossil remains descent from such vagrant birds. [1]

The form is mentioned here for the sake of completeness.

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References:

[1] David W. Steadman: Extinction and biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press 2006

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edited: 10.11.2021

Anas sp. ‘Macquarie Islands’

Macquarie Island Duck (Anas sp.)

 

The Macquarie Island Duck is known only from subfossil bones that were recovered from deposits on the island of Macquarie in the subantarctic Pacific Ocean. [1]

This was a flightless duck, very much alike the likewise flightless Auckland Teal (Anas aucklandica Gray) which inhabits the Auckland Islands in the subantarctic part of New Zealand or the Campbell Island teal (Anas nesiotis J. H. Fleming), which again is restricted to the subantarctic Campbell Islands, and which once was also almost extinct.

The Macquarie Island Duck certainly fell victim to the cats that had been imported to its island home by sailors and whalers that used Macquarie Island as a base camp.

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References:

[1] Trevor H. Worthy, Richard N. Holdaway: The Lost World of the Moa, Prehistoric Life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press, Bloomington 2002
[2] Alan J. D. Tennyson; R. Paul Scofiled: Holocene fossil bird remains from subantarctic Macquarie Island. Paleornithological Research. Proceed. 8th Internat. Meeting Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution 2013

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Auckland Teal (Anas aucklandica Gray) (the two birds on the right) together with New Zealand Brown Duck (Anas chlorotis)

Depiction from: ‘John C. Phillips: A Natural History of the Ducks. Boston; Houghton Mifflin Company; 1922-1926’

(public domain)

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edited: 10.11.2021

Anas chlorotis ssp. ‘Chatham Islands’

Chatham Islands Brown Duck (Anas chlorotis ssp.)

The Chatham Islands Brown Duck is only known from subfossil remains found on the Chatham Islands, that have not yet been described, it may have been a subspecies of the New Zealand Brown Duck (Anas chlorotisGray) (see depiction below) or even a distinct species.

The taxon was apparently already wiped out by the Moriori, the first human settlers on the Chatham Islands. [1]

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References:

[1] Trevor H. Worthy, Richard N. Holdaway: The Lost World of the Moa, Prehistoric Life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press, Bloomington 2002

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New Zealand Brown Duck (Anas chlorotis) (the two birds on the left) together with Auckland Teal (Anas aucklandica Gray)

Depiction from: ‘John C. Phillips: A Natural History of the Ducks. Boston; Houghton Mifflin Company; 1922-1926’

(public domain)

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edited: 10.11.2021

Anas acuta ssp. modesta Tristram

Sydney Island Pintail (Anas acuta ssp. modesta 

The Northern Pintail (Anas acuta L.) is a holarctic species, which inhabits the whole north of Europe, Asia and North America, as a migrating bird this species can appear almost everywhere, including the remotest islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  

The imagination, that, in this way, some of these birds may colonise new and suitable-appearing regions is compelling – and in no way unreasonable.  

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The form, discussed here, nearly unknown, and probably invalid by the way, is known only on the basis of three specimens (a male and two females), which were collected on the island of Manra (formerly Sydney Island) in the Phoenix group of Kiribati.  

This may have been resident birds, or rather nothing but wintering Northern Pintails in subadult plumage, the author of this form, H. B. Tristram, contemplated about them (On an apparently new Species of Duck (Dafila) from the Central Pacific).:  

The only note I have respecting it is, that there were no Ducks on the island on Mr. Arundel’s arrival, but that afterwards they appeared, and were tolerably numerous for a time. I gather from this remark that it is probably a migrant from one island to another, and a glance at the position of Sidney Island on the map will show that a Duck may enjoy a considerable range of migration in those regions, without necessarily coming under the eye of a collector.”  

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However, see also David W. Steadman (Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds).:  

… Other resident ducks, currently unknown, probably have been lost since human arrival. Perhaps the northern pintail Anas acuta, with more migrant records in Oceania than any other temperate species of duck … developed resident populations on some remote islands. …”  

So, as mentioned before, this form is perhaps invalid respectively identical with the nominate race – but it shall be mentioned here for the sake of completeness, and not least as a kind of anticipation for all prospectively to be discovered, extinct duck forms, which certainly have existed on many islands of the Pacific Ocean.  

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References:  

[1] H. B. Tristram: On an apparently new Species of Duck (Dafila) from the Central Pacific. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 79-80. 1886 
[2] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press 2006  

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Depiction from: ‘H. B. Tristram: On an apparently new Species of Duck (Dafila) from the Central Pacific. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 79-80. 1886’ 

(public domain)

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edited: 17.10.2020

Anas gracilis ssp. remissa Ripley

Rennell Island Teal (Anas gracilis ssp. remissa)

The island of Rennell is about 654 km² large and lies in the southeastern part of the Solomon islands chain; the easternmost part of that island is covered by a very large former lagoon which is now closed and filled with freshwater –  Lake Tenggano.

This lake was the sole home of a somewhat enigmatic duck, the Rennell Island Teal, which officially is considered a subspecies of the Sunda Teal (Anas gibberifrons Müller), a species that actually only inhabits parts of Indonesia, thus this assignment is probably quite wrong and it more likely should be assigned to the Grey Teal (Anas gracilis Buller) (see photo below).

The Rennell Island Teal differed only slightly from the Grey Teal and may in fact just have been a resident population of this very widespread trampy species.

The native duck population of Rennell Island begun to dwindle after the introduction of Mozambique Tilapias (Oreochromis mossambicus (W. K. H. Peters)) into Lake Tenggano; the last ducks were finally seen in 1959.

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Grey Teal (Anas gracilis)

Photo: Glen Fergus

(under creative commons license (3.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

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edited: 10.11.2021

Anas georgica ssp. niceforoi Wetmore & Borrero

Niceforo’s Pintail (Anas georgica ssp. niceforoi 

The Pintail inhabits large parts of South America, two or three subspecies are recognized.  

The extinct subspecies discussed here, Niceforo’s Pintail, once inhabited the higher altitude regions of Colombia. The birds, which reached a length of 61 to 71 cm, were first described as a distinct form in the year 1940.  

The local duck-hunters, however, already knew them for a much longer time, they called the birds Pato Pico de Oro de Colombia resp. Pato Pico de Oro de Nicéforo, and studiously hunted them, and finally managed to extirpate the whole population within the next 12 years.  

The last birds were seen in the year 1952 (or 1956, according to other sources).  

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References:  

[1] Steve Madge; Hilary Burn: Waterfowl: An identification guide to the Ducks, Geese and Swans of the World. Houghton Mifflin, Boston 1988  

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Pintail (Anas georgica Gmelin), nominate race; bird on the left

Depiction from: ‘John C. Phillips: A Natural History of the Ducks. Boston; Houghton Mifflin Company; 1922-1926’ 

(public domain)

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edited: 17.10.2020

Anas sp. ‚Viti Levu‘

Fiji Teal (Anas sp.)  

This, up to now undescribed species is known only from a single subfossil bone, a scapula that was found in the Vatumu cave near the city of Nadi in the west part of the island of Viti Levu.  

The species was most probably closely related to the Australian Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea (Eyton)) resp. to the Australian Grey Teal (Anas gracilis Buller). [1]  

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References:  

[1] Geoffrey Richard Clark; Atholl Anderson: The early prehistory of Fiji. Terra Australis 31, Canberra: ANU ePress, December 2009

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edited: 18.10.2020