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Waterfowl (Swans, Geese and Ducks), Rails and Coots, Photographed in Wetland and Coastal Habitat

Swans, Geese and Ducks

There are over one hundred and seventy species of swans, geese and ducks in the Anatidae family from the Anseriformes order of birds. They are medium to large birds that feed on a very wide range of foods including fish, aquatic and terrestrial; plants, insects, amphibians, worms, molluscs, seeds and grain. Primary habitat is inland wetlands but some species can be found in coastal, pasture, arable, urban areas and even in forest and savanna.

I photographed most of the waterfowl in the Australasia region:

(a) Australian endemics; Cape Barren goose, chestnut teal and maned duck (Australian wood duck).

(b) New Zealand endemics; Brown teal, New Zealand scaup (black teal) and paradise shelduck. The brown teal is IUCN listed as near threatened recovering from endangered in 2012.

(c) Australasian natives; Australian shoveler, black swan and radjah shelduck, I photographed the latter in Singapore where it is an introduced species.

(d) The other species mostly inhabit the northern hemisphere although some have been introduced into some southern hemisphere countries; Canada goose, mute swan, mallard and Egyptian goose.

Apart from the brown teal, which is IUCN listed as near threatened, recovering from endeared in 2012, images of other species in the gallery are categorised as least concern.

The Australian Shoveler (Spatula rhynchotis) taxon recognised by Birdlife International (Ref 2) and listed in Taxonomy in Flux (Ref 5) checklist, it was previously placed in the genus Anas. The IOC World Bird List (Ref 4) lists it as the Australasian Shoveler (Anus rhynchotis) together with two subspecies; Anus r. rhynchotis in Australia and Tasmania and Anus r. variegata in New Zealand. Anus rhynchotis is listed in the Sibley and Monroe, Clements and eBirds checklists.

New Zealand Mallard Duck Hybridisation

Images of a male and female mallard photographed in England are included in the gallery above.

Hybridisation of mallards with Pacific black ducks and others species is prevalent in New Zealand making identification of pure species difficult.

The first image is a drake mallard, an introduced species into New Zealand while the second image is a drake hybrid probably mallard x feral duck.

The next two images are possibly mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) x Pacific black (grey) duck (Anas superciliosa) hybrids. I've based this on their olive green/grey bill and orange leg colour.

On appearance I've assumed that the bottom row of images are mallard hens although they may some grey duck genes present, especially the one with green speculum. A brief description of the two species appearance:

It's difficult if not impossible to know the degree of hybridisation or whether the duck is pure or not.

(a) Mallards have orange legs and feet, speculum has a black and white border with a blue centre. Drakes have glossy green heads and chestnut brown breasts. Hens have diffuse eye and bill stripes with mottles faces.

(b) Pacific black (grey) ducks have olive green/grey bills, their face is clean cream with two sharply defined black stripes, a crown that is almost black. The speculum is green with a black border and white only on the trailing wing edge.

Featured Ducks, Geese, Swans, Anseriformes order

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese and Swans) family

Australian Shoveler (Spatula rhynchotis)

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)

Brown Teal (Anas chlorotis) [NT]

Canada Goose (Branta Canadensis)

Cape Barren Goose, (Cereopsis novaehollandiae)

Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)

Maned Duck (Chenonetta jubata) also known as Australian Wood Duck

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae), Commonly known as a black teal

Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegate) {M & F}

Radjah Shelduck (Tadorna radjah)

Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) {M & F}

Hybrid Mallard

Rails and Coots

The gallery features six species from the Rallidae family, Gruiformes order of birds. Rails and coots are small to medium sized birds that feed on invertebrates, seeds and fruit most inhabit inland wetlands and depending on species can be found in coastal, arable, pastureland, grassland, with some in forest and shrubland environments.

Four species were photographed in the Australasian region, one in Singapore and one in Trinidad. The Weka (Gallirallus australis) is IUCN listed as vulnerable an I photographed birds in two locations on the west coast of New Zealand's South Island so it is the Western Weka G.a. australis.

The Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) renamed western swamphen and split into six species (Sangster 1998, Garcia-R & Trewick 2015, IOC World Birds List (Ref 4) species update V5.3 22-Jul-2015 refers) but the split has not been adopted by Birdlife International (Ref 2). The split includes Australasian Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus) and Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus). The six species are listed both the Clements and eBirds checklists (Ref 9) and in Taxonomy in Flux (Ref 5) but not in Sibley and Monroe checklist (Ref 8).

The Australasian Purple Swamphen is known locally in New Zealand as Pukeko and Purple Gallinule is the New World form of Porphyrio porphyrio.

Featured Rails and Coots, Gruiformes order

Rallidae (Rails and Coots) family

Common Coot (Fulica atra) or Eurasian coot

Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus)

Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus)

Tasmanian Native-hen (Tribonyx mortierii)

White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)

Weka (Gallirallus australis) [VU] Probably G.a. australis

Abbreviations

IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature

IUCN Red List Category: [VU] Vulnerable

{M} Male, {F} Female

New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae), Travis Wetland, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2015 Brown Teal (Anas chlorotis), Travis Wetland, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2015 Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegate), female, Papanui Inlet, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand, 2015 Australian Shoveler (Spatula rhynchotis), Stewart Island, Southland, New Zealand, 2015 Maned Duck (Chenonetta jubata), or Australian Wood Duck, Male, Female and Chicks, Adelaide Botanical Gardens, South Australia, 2013 Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegate), Male, female and chicks, Okarito Wetland, New Zealand's West Coast, 2015 Pair of Cape Barren Goose, (Cereopsis novaehollandiae), Philip Island, Victoria, Australia, 2013 Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca), Moore green Lakes, Berkshire, England, 2012 Black Swan (Cygnus atratus), Adult and Immature, Travis Wetland, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2015 Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), Swan Lake, Botanic Gardens, Singapore, 2008 Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Drake, Moore green Lakes, Berkshire, England, 2012 Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Hen, Moore green Lakes, Berkshire, England, 2012 Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea) and Black Swan (Cygnus atratus), Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia, 2013 Canada Goose (Branta Canadensis), Travis Wetland, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2015 Radjah Shelduck (Tadorna radjah), Swan Lake, Botanic Gardens, Singapore, 2006 Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Drake, Dunedin Botanical Gardens, Otago, New Zealand, 2012 Mallard Hybrid, Travis Wetland, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2015 Possible Hybrid Pacific Black (Anas superciliosa) x Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) Duck, Female with chicks, Dunedin Botanical Gardens, Otago, New Zealand, 2015 Possible Hybrid Pacific Black (Anas superciliosa) x Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) Duck, Female with chicks, Travis Wetland, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2015 Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Female, Travis Wetland, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2015 Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Female with chicks, Papanui Inlet, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand, 2015 Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Female with chicks, Papanui Inlet, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand, 2015 Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Female, Dunedin Botanical Gardens, Otago, New Zealand, 2015 Weka (Gallirallus australis), Kahurangi NP, West Coast, New Zealand, 2015 Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus), La Vaga, Trinidad, 2015 Tasmanian Native-hen (Tribonyx mortierii), Ronny Creek, Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania, 2013 Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus), Farewell Spit Nature Reserve, New Zealand, 2015 White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus), Sundial Garden, Botanic Gardens, Singapore, 2015 Common Coot (Fulica atra) surrounding Black Swan (Cygnus atratus), Swan Lake, Philip Island, Victoria, Australia, 2013