Swans, Geese, Ducks (Family Anatidae)

 

Anatidae is the biological family that includes ducks, geese and swans.
The family has a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring on all the world's
continents except Antarctica and on most of the world's islands and
island groups. These are birds that are adapted through evolution for
swimming, floating on the water surface, and in some cases diving in at
least shallow water. The family contains around 146 species in 40 genera.
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.

 

The ducks, geese and swans are small to large sized birds that have a
general body plan that is broad and elongated. Diving species vary from
this in being rounder. Extant species range in size from the cotton
pygmy goose, at as little as 26.5 cm (10.5 inches) and 164 grams
(5.8 oz), to the trumpeter swan, at as much as 183 cm (6 ft) and 17.2 kg
(38 lb). The wings are short and pointed, and supported by strong wing
muscles that generate rapid beats in flight. They typically have long
necks, although this varies in degree between species. The legs are
short and strong and set far to the back of the body, more so in the
more aquatic species. Combined with their body shape this can make
some species awkward on land, but they are stronger walkers than
other marine and water birds such as grebes or petrels. They have
webbed feet. The bills of most species are flattened to a greater or
lesser extent.

 

 

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