Papers in the Biological Sciences


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An extensive updating of the 1978 text and references of Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World. Copyright 2010 Paul A. Johnsgard.


Since the 1978 publication of my Ducks, Geese and Swans of the World hundreds if not thousands of publications on the Anatidae have appeared, making a comprehensive literature supplement and text updating impossible. Janet Kear’s (2005) survey of the waterfowl family Anatidae and closely related screamers of the family Anhimidae included more than 3,700 references, of which a significant proportion appeared later than 1978. My revision of the Anseriformes (families Anatidae and Anhimidae) for the 2nd edition of J. C. Peters’ Check-List of the Birds of the World (Johnsgard, 1979) closely followed the classification structure and taxonomic sequence that had been used in this book, except for the absence of a tribe category, which was excluded in order to conform with the categories that had traditionally been used in earlier volumes of the Check-List. In addition to incorporating some more recent taxonomic changes, I have revised several of the range maps to conform with more current information. For these updates I have relied largely on Kear (2005).

Other important waterfowl books published since and covering the entire waterfowl family include an identification guide to the waterfowl, illustrated by color paintings of all species (Madge & Burn, 1988), and two books by Frank Todd (1979, 1996) that are especially notable for their excellent color photographic illustrations.

In addition to these world surveys, several smaller taxonomic groups of waterfowl have been monographed. They include the whistling ducks (Bolen & Rylander, 1983), mute swan (Birkhead & Perrins, 1986), whooper swan (Brazil, 2003), snow goose (Batt, 1996; Cooke, Rockwell & Lane, 1995), Canada goose (Hanson, 1997), Hawaiian goose (Kear & Berger, 1980), upland goose (Summers & McAdam. 1993), common shelduck (Patterson 1982), muscovy duck (Donkin, 1989), wood duck & mandarin duck (Lever, 1989, Shurtleff & Savage, 1996), and stiff-tailed ducks (Johnsgard & Carbonell, 1996).

Also since 1978, many taxonomic studies have been performed (see literature listing that follows this supplement), but the most ambitious of these were the molecular/morphological studies of B. C. Livezey. Because Kear’s 2005 monograph generally followed Livizey’s (1997) proposed taxonomy, a comparative overview of the two is shown in Table 1.

It may be seen that the two taxonomies are very similar, at least as to their broad sequential organization. I recognized a total of one family, three subfamilies, 13 tribes, 45 genera and 151 species, while Livizey accepted three families, five subfamilies, 13 tribes, 55 genera and 173 species of Recent Anatidae. Kear generally followed Livizey’s taxonomy, but recognized 52 genera and 165 Recent anatid species.

In the following updating of species information, emphasis is placed on those species and populations for which significant conservation, taxonomic, or behavioral information has appeared since 1978. No attempt has been made to update all aspects of these species’ biology and status. The 2005 monograph by Kear comprehensively summarized published Anseriformes literature through 2004, and The Birds of North America monograph series documenting all North American species breeding north of Mexico and published between 1993 and 2003 has comprehensive literature surveys. Alternative English names shown in parentheses below are those used by Kear (2005) or other recent authorities. The conservation categories of “endangered”, “critically endangered” and “vulnerable” refer to their IUCN classification status; individual countries, states and conservation organizations may use different terminology or classification criteria. Endangered and vulnerable species are also listed and internationally protected by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), as well as by individual countries or other geo-political entities.

Most of the following citations are more recent than this book’s publication date of 1978, but a few earlier ones are included were among the book’s original citations, usually because they have been mentioned above. For the most comprehensive available survey of post-1978 Anatidae literature, see Kear (2005).

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