Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
fluke of Diplostomum gasterostei endoparasitises Anatidae
Animal / parasite / endoparasite
fluke of Polymorphus minutus endoparasitises small intestine of Anatidae
In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / parasite / ectoparasite / blood sucker
Theromyzon tessulatum sucks the blood of nasal passage of Anatidae
Based on studies in:
Canada: Manitoba (Forest)
USA: Florida (Estuarine)
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Known prey organisms
Based on studies in:
USA: New York, Long Island (Marine)
USA: Rhode Island (Marine)
Norway: Spitsbergen (Coastal)
Scotland, Ythan estuary (Littoral, Mudflat)
Norway: Oppland, Ovre Heimdalsvatn Lake (Lake or pond)
USA: Florida (Estuarine)
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; oviparous
Evolution and Systematics
The webbed foot of a duck reduces drag when folded as the foot is brought forward, and provides power when stretched taut and pushed against the water on a backward stroke.
"Swimming animals often have webbed feet specially tailored to their chosen method of locomotion, though the bone structures vary considerably…The skin on a duck's foot, though quite leathery, is flexible enough to be folded when the foot is brought forward through the water, causing minimal drag; but it is strong enough to be stretched taut and pushed against the water on the backward stroke. The duck has four toes, arranged like those of most other birds into three forward-pointing toes and one pointing backwards; the forward three toes are joined by a web of skin, but the back toe is free so they can perch." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:181-182)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Foy, Sally; Oxford Scientific Films. 1982. The Grand Design: Form and Colour in Animals. Lingfield, Surrey, U.K.: BLA Publishing Limited for J.M.Dent & Sons Ltd, Aldine House, London. 238 p.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:2107
Specimens with Barcodes:2038
Species With Barcodes:131
Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the Anatidae family of birds, which also includes swans and geese. The ducks are divided among several subfamilies in the Anatidae family; they do not represent a monophyletic group (the group of all descendants of a single common ancestral species) but a form taxon, since swans and geese are not considered ducks. Ducks are mostly aquatic birds, mostly smaller than the swans and geese, and may be found in both fresh water and sea water.
The word duck comes from Old English *dūce "diver", a derivative of the verb *dūcan "to duck, bend down low as if to get under something, or dive", because of the way many species in the dabbling duck group feed by upending; compare with Dutch duiken and German tauchen "to dive".
This word replaced Old English ened/ænid "duck", possibly to avoid confusion with other Old English words, like ende "end" with similar forms. Other Germanic languages still have similar words for "duck", for example, Dutch eend "duck" and German Ente "duck". The word ened/ænid was inherited from Proto-Indo-European; compare: Latin anas "duck", Lithuanian ántis "duck", Ancient Greek nēssa/nētta (νῆσσα, νῆττα) "duck", and Sanskrit ātí "water bird", among others.
The overall body plan of ducks is elongated and broad, and the ducks are also relatively long-necked, albeit not as long-necked as the geese and swans. The body shape of diving ducks varies somewhat from this in being more rounded. The bill is usually broad and contains serrated lamellae, which are particularly well defined in the filter-feeding species. In the case of some fishing species the bill is long and strongly serrated. The scaled legs are strong and well developed, and generally set far back on the body, more so in the highly aquatic species. The wings are very strong and are generally short and pointed, and the flight of ducks requires fast continuous strokes, requiring in turn strong wing muscles. Three species of steamer duck are almost flightless, however. Many species of duck are temporarily flightless while moulting; they seek out protected habitat with good food supplies during this period. This moult typically precedes migration.
The drakes of northern species often have extravagant plumage, but that is moulted in summer to give a more female-like appearance, the "eclipse" plumage. Southern resident species typically show less sexual dimorphism, although there are exceptions like the paradise shelduck of New Zealand which is both strikingly sexually dimorphic and where the female's plumage is brighter than that of the male. The plumage of juvenile birds generally resembles that of the female.
Dabbling ducks feed on the surface of water or on land, or as deep as they can reach by up-ending without completely submerging. Along the edge of the beak there is a comb-like structure called a pecten. This strains the water squirting from the side of the beak and traps any food. The pecten is also used to preen feathers and to hold slippery food items.
A few specialized species such as the mergansers are adapted to catch and swallow large fish.
The others have the characteristic wide flat beak adapted to dredging-type jobs such as pulling up waterweed, pulling worms and small molluscs out of mud, searching for insect larvae, and bulk jobs such as dredging out, holding, turning head first, and swallowing a squirming frog. To avoid injury when digging into sediment it has no cere, but the nostrils come out through hard horn.
The ducks are generally monogamous, although these bonds generally last only a single year. Larger species and the more sedentary species (like fast river specialists) tend to have pair-bonds that last numerous years. Most duck species breed once a year, choosing to do so in favourable conditions (spring/summer or wet seasons). Ducks also tend to make a nest before breeding, and after hatching to lead their ducklings to water. Mother ducks are very caring and protective of their young, but may abandon some of their ducklings if they are physically stuck in an area they cannot get out of (including nesting in an enclosed courtyard) or are not prospering due to genetic defects or sickness brought about by hypothermia, starvation, or disease. Ducklings can also be orphaned by inconsistent late hatching where a few eggs hatch after the mother has abandoned the nest and led her ducklings to water.
Females of most dabbling ducks make the classic "quack" sound, but despite widespread misconceptions, most species of duck do not "quack". In general, ducks make a wide range of calls, ranging from whistles, cooing, yodels and grunts. For example, the scaup – which are diving ducks – make a noise like "scaup" (hence their name). Calls may be loud displaying calls or quieter contact calls.
A common urban legend claims that duck quacks do not echo; however, this has been shown to be false. This myth was first debunked by the Acoustics Research Centre at the University of Salford in 2003 as part of the British Association's Festival of Science. It was also debunked in one of the earlier episodes of the popular Discovery Channel television show MythBusters.
Distribution and habitat
The ducks have a cosmopolitan distribution. A number of species manage to live on sub-Antarctic islands like South Georgia and the Auckland Islands. Numerous ducks have managed to establish themselves on oceanic islands such as Hawaii, New Zealand and Kerguelen, although many of these species and populations are threatened or have become extinct.
Some duck species, mainly those breeding in the temperate and Arctic Northern Hemisphere, are migratory; those in the tropics, however, are generally not. Some ducks, particularly in Australia where rainfall is patchy and erratic, are nomadic, seeking out the temporary lakes and pools that form after localised heavy rain.
Worldwide, ducks have many predators. Ducklings are particularly vulnerable, since their inability to fly makes them easy prey not only for predatory birds but also large fish like pike, crocodilians, and other aquatic hunters, including fish-eating birds such as herons. Ducks' nests are raided by land-based predators, and brooding females may be caught unaware on the nest by mammals, such as foxes, or large birds, such as hawks or owls.
Adult ducks are fast fliers, but may be caught on the water by large aquatic predators including big fish such as the North American muskie and the European pike. In flight, ducks are safe from all but a few predators such as humans and the peregrine falcon, which regularly uses its speed and strength to catch ducks.
Relationship with humans
Ducks have many economic uses, being farmed for their meat, eggs, feathers, (particularly their down). They are also kept and bred by aviculturists and often displayed in zoos. Almost all the varieties of domestic ducks are descended from the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), apart from the Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata).
In many areas, wild ducks of various species (including ducks farmed and released into the wild) are hunted for food or sport, by shooting, or formerly by decoys. Because an idle floating duck or a duck squatting on land cannot react to fly or move quickly, "a sitting duck" has come to mean "an easy target".
In 2002, psychologist Richard Wiseman and colleagues at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, finished a year-long LaughLab experiment, concluding that of all animals, ducks attract the most humor and silliness; he said, "If you're going to tell a joke involving an animal, make it a duck." The word "duck" may have become an inherently funny word in many languages, possibly because ducks are seen as silly in their looks or behavior. Of the many ducks in fiction, many are cartoon characters, such as Walt Disney's Donald Duck, and Warner Bros.' Daffy Duck. Howard the Duck started as a comic book character in 1973, made in 1986 into a movie. The 1992 Disney film The Mighty Ducks, starring Emilio Estevez chose the duck as the mascot for the fictional youth hockey team who are protagonists of the movie, based on the duck being described as a fierce fighter. This led to the duck becoming the nickname and mascot for the eventual National Hockey League professional team Anaheim Ducks. The duck is also the nickname of the University of Oregon sports teams as well as the Long Island Ducks minor league baseball team.
- "Duckling". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2006. Retrieved 05-01-2008. Check date values in:
- "Duckling". Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary (Beta Version). K. Dictionaries Ltd. 2000–2006. Retrieved 05-01-2008. Check date values in:
- Ogden, Evans. "Dabbling Ducks". CWE. Retrieved 2006-11-02.
- Amos, Jonathan (2003-09-08). "Sound science is quackers". BBC News. Retrieved 2006-11-02.
- "Mythbusters Episode 8". 12 December 2003.
- "Anas platyrhynchos, Domestic Duck; DigiMorph Staff - The University of Texas at Austin". Digimorph.org. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
- Sy Montgomery. "Mallard; Encyclopædia Britannica". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
- World's funniest joke revealed New Scientist, 3 October 2002
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 Magpie Goose is no longer considered to be part of the Anatidae, but is placed in its own family Anseranatidae.) 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.
Description and ecology
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. These contain serrated lamellae which are particularly well defined in the filter-feeding species.
Their feathers are excellent at shedding water due to special oils. Many of the ducks display sexual dimorphism, with the males being more brightly coloured than the females (although the situation is reversed in species like the Paradise Shelduck). The swans, geese and whistling-ducks lack sexually dimorphic plumage. Anatids are vocal birds, producing a range of quacks, honks, squeaks, and trumpeting sounds, depending on species; the female often has a deeper voice than the male.
Anatids are generally herbivorous as adults, feeding on various water-plants, although some species also eat fish, molluscs, or aquatic arthropods. One group, the mergansers, are primarily piscivorous, and have a serrated bill to help them catch fish. In a number of species, the young include a high proportion of invertebrates in their diet, but become purely herbivorous as adults.
The anatids are generally seasonal and monogamous breeders. The level of monogamy varies within the family, many of the smaller ducks only maintain the bond for a single season and find a new partner the following year, whereas the larger swans, geese and some of the more territorial ducks maintain pair bonds over a number of years. Anatidae are remarkable for being one of the few families of birds that possess a penis; most species are adapted for copulation on the water only. They construct simple nests from whatever material is close to hand, often lining them with a layer of down plucked from the mother's breast. In most species, only the female incubates the eggs. The young are precocial, and are able to feed themselves from birth. One aberrant species, the Black-headed Duck, is an obligate brood parasite, laying its eggs in the nests of gulls and coots. While this species never raises its own young, a number of other ducks will occasionally lay eggs in the nests of conspecifics (members of the same species) in addition to raising their own broods.
Relationship with humans
Duck, eider, and goose feathers and down have long been popular for bedspreads, pillows, sleeping bags and coats. The members of this family also have long been used for food.
Humans have had a long relationship with ducks, geese and swans; they are important economically and culturally to humans, and several duck species have benefited from an association with people. On the other hand some anatids are damaging agricultural pests, and have acted as vectors for zoonoses such as avian influenza.
Since 1600, five species of duck have become extinct due to the activities of humans, and subfossil remains have shown that humans caused numerous extinctions in prehistory. Today many more are considered threatened. Most of the historic and prehistoric extinctions were insular species, these species were vulnerable due to small populations (often endemic to a single island), and island tameness. Evolving on islands that lacked predators these species lost anti-predator behaviours as well as the ability to fly, and were vulnerable to human hunting pressure and introduced species. Other extinctions and declines are attributable to overhunting, habitat loss and modification, as well as hybridisation with introduced ducks (for example the introduced Ruddy Duck swamping the White-headed Duck in Europe). Numerous governments, conservation and hunting organisations have made considerable progress in protecting ducks and duck populations through habitat protection and creation, laws and protection, and captive breeding programmes.
While the status of the Anatidae as a family is straightforward, and there is little debate about which species properly belong to it, the relationships of the different tribes and subfamilies within it are poorly understood. The listing in the box at right should be regarded as simply one of several possible ways of organising the many species within the Anatidae; see discussion in the next section.
The systematics of the Anatinae is in a state of flux. Previously divided into six subfamilies, a study of anatomical characters by Livezey suggest that the Anatidae are better treated in nine subfamilies. This classification was popular in the late 1980s to 1990s. But mtDNA sequence analyses indicate that for example the dabbling and diving ducks do not belong in the same subfamily. While there are certainly shortcomings in Livezey's analysis, mtDNA is an unreliable source for phylogenetic information in many waterfowl (especially dabbling ducks) due to their ability to produce fertile hybrids, in rare cases possibly even beyond the level of genus (see for example the "Barbary Duck"). Because the sample size of many molecular studies available to date is small, mtDNA results must be considered with caution.
But while a comprehensive review of the Anatidae which unites all evidence into a robust phylogeny is still lacking, the reasons for the confusing data are at least clear: As demonstrated by the Late Cretaceous fossil Vegavis iaai — an early modern waterbird which belonged to an extinct lineage—the Anatidae are an ancient group among the modern birds. Their earliest direct ancestors, though not documented by fossils yet, likewise can be assumed to have been contemporaries with the dinosaurs. The long period of evolution and shifts from one kind of waterbird lifestyle to another have obscured many plesiomorphies, while apomorphies apparently are quite often the result of parallel evolution, for example the "non-diving duck" type displayed by such unrelated genera as Dendrocygna, Amazonetta, and Cairina. For the fossil record, see below.
Alternatively, the Anatidae may be considered to consist of 3 subfamilies (ducks, geese, and swans, essentially) which contain the groups as presented here as tribes, with the swans separated as subfamily Cygninae, the goose subfamily Anserinae also containing the whistling ducks, and the Anatinae containing all other clades.
- Subfamily: Dendrocygninae (One pantropical genus, of distinctive long-legged goose-like birds)
- Dendrocygna, whistling ducks (9 living species)
- Subfamily: Thalassorninae (One genus in Africa, most closely related to the subfamily Dendrocygninae, though also showing convergent similarities to the subfamily Oxyurinae)
- Subfamily: Anserinae, swans and geese (Three to seven extant genera with 25–30 living species, mainly cool temperate Northern Hemisphere but also some Southern Hemisphere species, with the swans in one genus [two genera in some treatments], and the geese in three genera [two genera in some treatments]. Some other species are sometimes placed herein, but seem somewhat more distinct [see below])
- Subfamily: Stictonettinae (One genus in Australia, formerly included in the Oxyurinae, but with anatomy suggesting a distinct ancient lineage perhaps closest to the Anserinae, especially the Cape Barren Goose)
- Subfamily: Plectropterinae (One genus in Africa, formerly included in the "perching ducks", but closer to the Tadorninae)
- Subfamily: Tadorninae – shelducks and sheldgeese has resulted in the inclusion of 10 extant genera with about two dozen living species [one probably extinct] in this subfamily, mostly from the Southern Hemisphere but a few in the Northern Hemisphere, but the affiliations of several presumed tadornine genera has later been questioned and the group in the traditional lineup is likely to be paraphyletic)
- Pachyanas, Chatham Island Duck (prehistoric)
- Tadorna, shelducks (7 species, one probably extinct) – possibly paraphletic
- Salvadorina, Salvadori's Teal
- Centrornis, Madagascar Sheldgoose (prehistoric, tentatively placed here)
- Alopochen, Egyptian Goose and Mascarene Shelducks (1 living species, 2 extinct)
- Neochen, Orinoco Goose
- Chloephaga, sheldgeese (5 species)
- Hymenolaimus, Blue Duck
- Merganetta, Torrent Duck
- Subfamily: Anatinae, dabbling ducks and moa-nalos (The dabbling duck group, of worldwide distribution, were previously restricted to just one or two genera, but had been extended to include 8 extant genera and about 55 living species, including several genera formerly known as the "perching ducks"; mtDNA on the other hand confirms that the genus Anas is over-lumped and casts doubt on the diving duck affiliations of several genera [see below]. The moa-nalos, of which 4 species in 3 genera are known to date, are a peculiar group of flightless, extinct Anatidae from the Hawaiian Islands. Gigantic in size and with massive bills, they were believed to be geese, but have been shown to be actually very closely related to mallard. They evolved filling the ecological niche of turtles, ungulates and other megaherbivores.)
- Anas: wigeons, gadwalls, teals, pintails, mallards, shovelers, etc. (40–50 living species, 3 extinct) – paraphyletic
- Lophonetta, Crested Duck
- Speculanas, Bronze-winged Duck
- Amazonetta, Brazilian Duck
- Chelychelynechen, Turtle-jawed Moa-nalo (prehistoric)
- Thambetochen, Large-billed Moa-nalos (2 species, prehistoric)
- Ptaiochen, Small-billed Moa-nalo (prehistoric)
- Subfamily: Aythyinae, diving ducks (Some 15 species of diving ducks, of worldwide distribution, in 2–4 genera; The 1986 morphological analysis suggested that the probably extinct Pink-headed Duck of India, previously treated separately in Rhodonessa, should be placed in Netta, but this has been questioned. Furthermore, while morphologically close to dabbling ducks, the mtDNA data indicates that a treatment as distinct subfamily is indeed correct, with the Tadorninae being actually closer to dabbling ducks than the diving ducks are)
- Subfamily: Merginae, eiders, scoters, sawbills and other sea-ducks
- Chendytes, Diving-geese (prehistoric)
- Polysticta, Steller's Eider
- Somateria, eiders (3 species)
- Histrionicus, Harlequin Duck (includes Ocyplonessa)
- Camptorhynchus, Labrador Duck (extinct)
- Melanitta, scoters (3 species)
- Clangula, Long-tailed Duck (1 species)
- Bucephala, goldeneyes (3 species)
- Mergellus, Smew
- Lophodytes, Hooded Merganser
- Mergus, mergansers (5 living species, one extinct).
- Subfamily: Oxyurinae, stiff-tail ducks (A small group of 3–4 genera, 2–3 of them monotypic, with 7–8 living species)
- Unresolvedmonotypic subfamilies above, and the "perching ducks"
- Coscoroba, Coscoroba Swan – Anserinae or same subfamily as Cereopsis?
- Cereopsis, Cape Barren Goose – Anserinae, Tadorninae, or own subfamily?
- Cnemiornis, New Zealand geese (prehistoric) – as Cereopsis
- Malacorhynchus, Pink-eared ducks (1 living species) – Tadorninae, Oxyurinae or Dendrocheninae?
- Sarkidiornis, Comb Duck – Tadorninae or closer to dabbling ducks?
- Tachyeres, steamer ducks (4 species) – Tadorninae or closer to dabbling ducks?
- Cyanochen, Blue-winged Goose – Tadorninae or more distant clade?
- Nettapus, pygmy geese (3 species) – Anatinae or part of Southern Hemisphere radiation?
- Pteronetta, Hartlaub's Duck – traditionally dabbling ducks, but may be closer to Cyanochen
- Cairina, Muscovy Duck and White-winged Wood Duck (2 species) – traditionally dabbling ducks, but may be paraphyletic, with one species in Tadorninae and the other closer to diving ducks
- Aix, Mandarin Duck and Wood Duck (2 species) – dabbling ducks or Tadorninae?
- Callonetta, Ringed Teal – dabbling ducks or Tadorninae?
- Chenonetta, Maned Duck (1 living species) – dabbling ducks or Tadorninae? Includes Euryanas.
- Marmaronetta, Marbled Duck – Formerly dabbling ducks; actually a diving duck or a distinct subfamily
From subfossil bones found on Kauaʻi (Hawaiian Islands), two enigmatic waterfowl are known. The living and assignable prehistoric avifauna of the archipelago contains as Anseriformes Branta geese and their descendants, and the moa-nalos as mentioned above. The following taxa, although certainly new species, cannot be assigned even to subfamily; that Kauaʻi is the oldest of the large Hawaiian Islands, meaning the species may have been evolving in isolation for nearly up to 10 mya (since the Late Miocene), does not help in determining their affinities:
- Long-legged "Shelduck", Anatidae sp. et gen. indet.
Similarly, Geochen rhuax from the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, and a gigantic goose-like anatid from Oʻahu are known only from very incomplete and in the former case much damaged bone fragments. The former has been alleged to be a shelduck, but this was generally dismissed because of the damage to the material and biogeographic considerations. The long-legged Kauaʻi bird, however, hints at the possibility of a former tadornine presence on the archipelago.
The fossil record of anatids is extensive, but many prehistoric genera cannot be unequivocally assigned to present-day subfamilies for the reasons given above. For prehistoric species of extant genera, see the respective genus accounts.
Dendrocheninae – a more advanced relative of the whistling-ducks or an ancestral relative of stifftail ducks paralleling whistling-ducks; if not extinct possibly belong in Oxyurinae (including Malacorhynchus)
- Mionetta (Late Oligocene – Middle Miocene of C Europe) – includes "Anas" blanchardi, "A." consobrina, "A." natator, "Aythya" arvernensis
- Manuherikia (Bathans Early/Middle Miocene of Otago, New Zealand)
- Dendrochen (Early – Late? Miocene) – includes "Anas" integra, "A." oligocaena
- Dendrocheninae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Miocene of Argentina)
- Cygnavus (Early Oligocene of Kazakhstan – Early Miocene of Germany)
- Cygnopterus (Middle Oligocene of Belgium – Early Miocene of France) – sometimes included in Cygnavus
- Megalodytes (Middle Miocene of California, USA)
- "cf. Megalodytes" (Haraichi Middle Miocene of Annaka, Japan)
- Anserobranta (Late Miocene of C Europe) – includes "Anas" robusta, validity doubtful
- Presbychen (Temblor Late Miocene of Sharktooth Hill, USA)
- Afrocygnus (Late Miocene – Early Pliocene of EC Africa)
- Paracygnus (Kimball Late Pliocene of Nebraska, USA)
- Eremochen (Pliocene)
- Australotadorna (Late Oligocene – Early Miocene of Australia)
- Miotadorna (Bathans Early/Middle Miocene of Otago, New Zealand)
- Tadorninae gen. et sp. indet. (Calvert Middle Miocene of Maryland, USA)
- Balcanas (Early Pliocene of Dorkovo, Bulgaria) – may be synonym of Tadorna or even Common Shelduck
- Anabernicula (Late Pliocene ?– Late Pleistocene of SW and W North America)
- Brantadorna (Middle Pleistocene of Vallecito Creek, USA)
- Nannonetta (Late Pleistocene of Peru)
- Pinpanetta (Late Oligocene – Early Miocene of Australia)
- Dunstanetta (Bathans Early/Middle Miocene of Otago, New Zealand) – tentatively placed here
- Tirarinetta (Pliocene of Australia)
- "Anas" luederitzensis (Kalahari Early Miocene of Lüderitzbucht, Namibia) – anatine?
- Matanas (Bathans Early/Middle Miocene of Otago, New Zealand)
- Anatidae gen. et sp. indet. MNZ S42797 (Bathans Early/Middle Miocene of Otago, New Zealand)
- "Oxura" doksana (Early Miocene of Dolnice, Czechia)
- "Aythya" chauvirae (Middle Miocene of Sansan, France and Credinţa, Romania) – 2 species
- Anatidae gen. et sp. indet. (Middle Miocene of Nördlinger Ries, Germany) – tadornine?
- Anatidae gen. et sp. indet. (Sajóvölgyi Middle Miocene of Mátraszõlõs, Hungary)
- "Anas" meyerii (Middle Miocene of Öhningen, Germany) Described from a single badly crushed tarsometatarsus and phalanges. This species was named in 1867 by Milne-Edwards and then recombined in 1964 by Brodkorb to the genus Aythya. This species is currently regarded as Aves incertae sedis.
- "Anas" velox (Middle - Late? Miocene of C Europe) – anatine? May include "A." meyerii
- "Anas" albae (Late Miocene of Polgárdi, Hungary) – mergine? Formerly in Mergus
- "Anas" isarensis (Late Miocene of Aumeister, Germany) – anatine?
- "Anser" scaldii (Late Miocene of Antwerp, Belgium) – anserine or tadornine
- Anatidae gen. et sp. indet. (Waite Late Miocene of Alcoota, Australia) – anatine, oxyurine?
- Anatidae gen. et sp. indet. (Waite Late Miocene of Alcoota, Australia) – tadornine?
- "Anas" eppelsheimensis (Early Pliocene of Eppelsheim, Germany) – anatine?
- Aldabranas (Late Pleistocene of Aldabra, Indian Ocean) – anatine or tadornine
- "Chenopis" nanus (Pleistocene of Australia) – at least 2 taxa, may be living species
Putative or disputed prehistoric anatids are:
- Romainvillia (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene) – anseranatid or anatid (own subfamily)
- Loxornis (Deseado Early Oligocene of Argentina)
- Paracygnopterus (Early Oligocene of Belgium and England)
- Teleornis (Deseado Early Oligocene of Argentina)
- Guguschia (Late Oligocene of Pirəkəşkül, Azerbaijan) – anserine or Pelagornithidae (same as Caspiodontornis?)
- Chenornis (Early Miocene) – anserine or Phalacrocoracidae
- Paranyroca (Rosebud Early Miocene of Bennett County, USA) – anatid (own subfamily) or distinct family?
- Eoneornis (Miocene of Argentina) – anatine? A nomen dubium
- Eutelornis (Miocene of Argentina) – anatine?
The Middle Oligocene Limicorallus (from Chelkar-Teniz (Kazakhstan) was sometimes considered an anserine. It is, however, a primitive cormorant. The middle Eocene Eonessa wa formerly thought to belong to Anatidae, however reexamination of the holotype in 1978 resulted in the genus being placed as Aves incertae sedis.
- ^ a b c Carboneras, C. (1992).
- ^ a b c Todd, F. (1991)
- ^ McCracken, K. (2000)
- ^ a b c d Livezey, B. (1986)
- ^ Madge, S. & Burn, H. (1987)
- ^ Sraml, M. et al. (1996)
- ^ a b c Johnson, K. & Sorenson, M. (1999).
- ^ Terres, J. & NAS (1991)
- ^ Collar, N. et al. (2001).
- ^ Burney, D. et al. (2001).
- ^ Short, L. (1970)
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