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In Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World, by Paul A. Johnsgard. Electronic edition copyright © 2010 Paul A. Johnsgard.


Freckled Duck
Even more than the Cape Barren goose, the freckled duck exhibits an assortment of anatomical traits that suggest affinities with the geese and swans, in spite of a fairly typical ducklike appearance and foraging behavior. Its unpatterned downy young, its remarkably primitive syringeal structure, and its reticulated tarsus all strongly argue for the position that this species is the sole survivor of a very ancient waterfowl lineage, with no near living relatives. A detailed study of its social behavior is greatly to be desired, for like the magpie goose, it provides an unequaled opportunity to gain insight into the evolutionary history of the waterfowl group through observation of a unique contemporary form.

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