Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



First published and copyright © 1978 by the University of Nebraska Press.
Electronic revised edition published 2010 by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.
Copyright 2010 by Paul A. Johnsgard. All rights reserved


The only one-volume comprehensive survey of the family Anatidae available in English, this book combines lavish illustration with information on the natural history, distribution and status, and identification of all the species.

After an introductory discussion of the thirteen tribes of Anatidae, separate accounts follow for each of the nearly 150 recognized species. These include scientific and vernacular names (in French, German, and Spanish as well as English), descriptions of the distribution of all recognized subspecies, selected weights and measurements, and identification criteria for both sexes and various age classes. The “Natural History” section of each species account considers habitats, foods, social behavior, and reproductive biology. Finally, a short discussion of the species’ present population status and current evidence about its evolutionary relationships are presented. A glossary of technical terms and derivations of vernacular names and a reference list of more than three hundred sources supplement the text.

A large number of illustrations—more than 170 line drawings and 132 distribution maps—were prepared especially for this volume, which also includes 59 color plates. Every species is illustrated in line drawings or photographs or both.

For this 2010 revised edition, the author has prepared an extensive supplement— The World’s Waterfowl in the 21st Century—discussing revisions to the taxonomy, changing status and distributions of species, and thirty years of laboratory and field studies by ornithology experts worldwide.

One of the world’s foremost authorities on waterfowl behavior, Paul A. Johnsgard is emeritus professor of biological sciences at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He is the author of more than 40 books, including Handbook of Waterfowl Behavior, Waterfowl: Their Biology and Natural History, Cranes of the World, Grouse and Quails of North America, North American Game Birds of Upland and Shoreline, Waterfowl of North America, Birds of the Great Plains, Birds of the Rocky Mountains, North American Owls, Trogons and Quetzals of the World, Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons of North America, The Pheasants of the World, The Avian Brood Parasites: Deception at the Nest, The Hummingbirds of North America, Arena Birds: Sexual Selection and Behavior, and dozens more.

Cover photograph of whooper swans by Paul A. Johnsgard

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