Diving duck

Diving duck
Diving ducks
Greater Scaup, Aythya marila
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Aythyinae


The diving ducks, commonly called pochards or scaups, are a category of duck which feed by diving beneath the surface of the water. They are part of the diverse and very large Anatidae family that includes ducks, geese, and swans.

The diving ducks are placed in a distinct subfamily, Aythyinae. While morphologically close to the dabbling ducks,[1] there are nonetheless some pronounced differences such as in the structure of the trachea. mtDNA cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequence data indicate that the dabbling and diving ducks are fairly distant from each other, the outward similarities being due to convergent evolution.[2] Alternatively, the diving ducks are placed as a tribe Aythyini in a subfamily Anatidae which would encompass all duck-like birds except the whistling-ducks. [3] The seaducks commonly found in coastal areas, such as the Long-tailed Duck (formerly known in the US as Oldsquaw), scoters, goldeneyes, mergansers, bufflehead and eiders, are also sometimes colloquially referred to in North America as diving ducks because they also feed by diving; their subfamily (Merginae) is a very distinct one however.

Although the group is cosmopolitan, most members are native to the northern hemisphere, and it includes several of the most familiar northern hemisphere ducks.

This group of ducks is so named because its members feed mainly by diving, although in fact the Netta species are reluctant to dive, and feed more like dabbling ducks.

These are gregarious ducks, mainly found on fresh water or on estuaries, though the Greater Scaup becomes marine during the northern winter. They are strong fliers; their broad, blunt-tipped wings require faster wing-beats than those of many ducks and they take off with some difficulty. Northern species tend to be migratory; southern species do not migrate though the Hardhead travels long distances on an irregular basis in response to rainfall. Diving ducks do not walk as well on land as the dabbling ducks; their legs tend to be placed further back on their bodies to help propel them when underwater.


Three genera are included in the Aythyini. The Marbled Duck which makes up the monotypic genus Marmaronetta, however, seems very distinct and might have diverged prior to the split of dabbling and diving ducks as indicated by morphological and molecular characteristics.[1][2] The probably extinct Pink-headed Duck, previously treated separately in Rhodonessa, has been suggested to belong into Netta,[1][4] but this approach has been questioned.[5] DNA sequence analyses, which would probably resolve this question, have not been conducted to date for lack of suitable material. It might be an early divergence from the dabbling duck lineage.[1] The molecular analysis also suggests that the White-winged Duck should be placed into a monotypic genus Asarcornis which is fairly close to Aythya and might belong into this subfamily.[2]

Female A. australis, the only Australian representative of Aythyinae



  1. ^ a b c d Livezey, Brad C. (1986). "A phylogenetic analysis of recent anseriform genera using morphological characters". The Auk 116 (3): 792–805. http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Auk/v116n03/p0792-p0805.pdf. Retrieved 22 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Johnson, Kevin P.,Sorenson, Michael D.. "Phylogeny and biogeography of dabbling ducks (genus Anas): a comparison of molecular and morphological evidence". The Auk 116 (3): 792–805. http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Auk/v116n03/p0792-p0805.pdf. Retrieved 22 July 2010. 
  3. ^ Terres, John K. (1991). The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds. Wings Books. ISBN 0-517-03288-0. 
  4. ^ Livezey, Brad C. (1998). "A phylogenetic analysis of modern pochards (Anatidae: Aythyini)". The Auk 113 (1): 74–93. http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Auk/v113n01/p0074-p0093.pdf. Retrieved 22 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Nigel J. Collar, ed (2004). Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International. ISBN 0-946888-44-2. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • diving duck — n. any of various ducks that dive for food or protection, as the redhead …   English World dictionary

  • diving duck — any of numerous ducks, common in coastal bays and river mouths, that typically dive from the water s surface for their food (contrasted with dabbling duck). [1805 15] * * * Any duck that obtains its food by diving to the bottom in deep water… …   Universalium

  • diving duck — noun A duck that feeds mainly by diving such as the pochard …   Wiktionary

  • diving duck — noun a duck which typically feeds by diving underwater, such as a pochard or goldeneye …   English new terms dictionary

  • diving duck — /ˈdaɪvɪŋ dʌk/ (say duyving duk) noun any of various ducks of the tribe Aythini, including sea ducks, bay ducks and mergansers, that feed by diving underneath the surface of the water. Compare dabbling duck …  

  • diving duck — div′ing duck n. orn any of numerous ducks that dive from the water s surface for their food (contrasted with dabbling duck). • Etymology: 1805–15 …   From formal English to slang

  • diving duck — noun any of various ducks of especially bays and estuaries that dive for their food • Ant: ↑dabbling duck • Hypernyms: ↑duck …   Useful english dictionary

  • diving duck — noun Date: 1813 any of various ducks (as a bufflehead) that frequent deep waters and obtain their food by diving …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • duck — duck1 /duk/, n., pl. ducks, (esp. collectively for 1, 2) duck. 1. any of numerous wild or domesticated web footed swimming birds of the family Anatidae, esp. of the genus Anas and allied genera, characterized by abroad, flat bill, short legs, and …   Universalium

  • Duck-baiting — by Henry Alken circa 1820 Duck baiting is a blood sport involving the baiting of ducks. Contents 1 Overview …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”