Birds • Flowers
Insects • Stars
Reptiles and Amphibians
Seashores • Fishes
Rocks and Minerals
Zoology • Fossils
Sea Shells of the World
Moths and BuHerfies
Non-fowering Plants
The Southwest
The Southeast
The Pacifc Northwest
Everglades National Park
The Rocky Mountains
Washington, D.C.
10100 This book is also available in the
De Luxe Library edition.
Research Director, National Audubon Society
I l l ustrated by
Since t he earl iest days, men have hunted. Today about
12 mi l l i on hunters buy l i censes i n the Uni ted States, and
most hunt gamebi rds. These l ar ger bi rds ar e equal l y i nter­
esti ng to those who hunt wi th a camera and to t hose who
j ust enj oy l ooki ng at bi rds.
Hunti ng regul ati ons i mpose on t he hunter t he responsi ­
bi l ity of i dentifyi ng a gamebi rd before he shoots. Recog­
niti on of rare and protected species i s the frst step i n
keepi ng t hem al i ve. F or these reasons and many others
we have brought i nto the Gol den Gui de Seri es a book of
basic data on Ameri can gamebi rds. I n so doi ng we have
had i nval uabl e assistance from Robert P. Al l en and Al ex­
ander Sprunt, Jr. , orni thol ogists of note. The experi ence
of Grace Crowe I rvi ng wi th western bi rds was val uabl e,
as was t he hel p of Donna Nel son Sprunt in t he prepara­
ti on of the manuscri pt. The arti st j oi ns us i n thanki ng
Char l es E. O' Bri en and Joseph O' Connel l of the American
Museum of Natural Hi story. A. S. , I V; H. S. Z.
Begi nni ng wi th the Canada Goose on page 22, you wi l l
fnd range maps for most bi rds. The areas where the
bi rds breed are shown i n red; the areas where they
wi nter are shown i n bl ue. The areas i n purpl e s how where
the s ummer and wi nter ranges overl ap or where t he bi rds
are resi dent. When the ranges of two bi rds are shown on
the same map, one bi rd' s range i s shown i n sol i d col ors,
the other in bl ue and red l i nes.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 61-8316
© Copyright 1961 by Golden Press, Inc. All rights reserved, including the
right of reproduc,ion in whole or in part in any form. Designed and pro­
duced by Artists and Writers Press, Inc. Printed in the U.S.A. by Western
Printing and lithographing Company. Published by Golden Press, Inc.,
New York, N. Y. Published simultaneously in Canada by The Musson Book
Company, ltd., Toronto.
Third Printing, 1964
I NTRODUCI NG GAMEBI RDS . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-14
What gamebirds are; where they live; how
they are maintained and protected.
Birds lost forever and some we can still save.
WATERFOWL o .o o . o .o o . o o . .o o o . . ..o o o . 20-88
Introduction o o o • o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o 20-2 1
Geese o . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-33
River Ducks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34-57
Sea Ducks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58-82
Mergansers and others . . . . . . . . . . 83-85
Waterfowl food plants o . . . . . . . . . . 86-88
This is a great family which includes ducks,
geese, and swans. All have webbed feet, fat­
tened bodies, short legs, and bills modifed
for straining.
RAILS o . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89-97
This family also includes the gallinules and
coots, duck-like birds with bills like those of
Includes the woodcock and snipes.
PI GEONS AND DOVES o . . . . . . . o . o .. o o . o 104-114
Birds of field and open forest; some with
rounded tails; some with painted tails.
GALLI NACEOUS GAME BI RDS ... .. o . . .. .. 11 S-1 53
A large group with chicken-like habits; main-
ly upland gamebirds including a few foreign
species which thrive in North America.
HABITAT I MPROVEMENT o ... o . o . . . o .. . . 154-155
INDEX . o o o o o o o . o o o . o o o o . o . o .. o . o o o o . o 157-160
A great n umber of bi rds have been consi dered game in
years past. Everyt hi ng from fl ami ngos to hummi ngbi rds
have been taken for food, sport, or even for medi ci nal
use. In North Ameri ca many speci es now ri gi dl y protected
were shot regul arl y years ago. Robi ns, meadowl arks,
bobol i nks, and a host of other smal l bi rds were sought for
the pot when our great-grandfathers took to the fi el d.
Nowadays, wi th hunti ng far mor e i mportant as recreati on
than as a source of food, our i deas of gamebi rds have
changed. What we cal l gamebi rds are sti l l bi rds that are
good eati ng, but they are al so bi rds wi th the wi l dness,
fast fi ght, and el usi veness that appeal to s portsmen. De­
spi te reasonabl e hunti ng by men, a game speci es i s abl e
to mai ntai n i tsel f.
Modern sportsmen are wel l aware of thei r responsi bi l ­
i t y to conserve game speci es. Season and bag l i mi ts are
a recogni zed essenti al . Fees for l i censes and stamps, and
taxes on arms and ammuni ti on hel p provi de funds for
wi l dl ife research and for devel opment of refuges where
game speci es can breed, or where they can rest and feed
duri ng mi grati on. Several federal and state agencies and
a number of non- proft organi zati ons work steadi l y on the
probl ems of protecti ng our gamebi rd popul at i on.
The val ue of gamebi rds goes far beyond t hei r -ppeal
to sportsmen. They are i mportant l i nks in t he bi ol ogi c food
chai n that i ncl udes al l l i vi ng thi ngs-hunters and hunted.
Many peopl e who do not hunt fi nd gamebi rds a speci al
del i ght. Al l watch thei r coming and goi ng wi th t he chang­
i ng seasons and thri l l to t he si ght of pheasants ri si ng above
corn shocks, and to the honki ng of geese hi gh overhead.
a natural gr oup of bi rds. Those of Nort h Ameri ca fal l
i nto 1 2 di ferent fami l i es. Si nce gamebi rds are hunted, an d
hunt i ng i s regul ated by l aw, t h e defi ni ti on i s a l egal one
-but one t hat has been changed conti nual l y si nce Con­
necti cut frst set up hunti ng seasons i n 1 677. Efecti ve
l arge-scal e regul at i on of hunti ng, l ess t han a century ol d,
i s based on i nternati onal cooperati on. A mi gratory bi rd
treaty wi th Canada was rati fi ed i n 1918 and one wi t h
Mexi co i n 1936. These establ i sh federal or nati onal j uri s­
di cti on over mi gratory bi rds. Many gamebi rds mi grate
and hence are under federal control . The federal govern­
ment establ i shes basi c regu l ati ons and states may make
modifcati on wi t hi n these l i mi ts. The vari ous states (the
provi nces i n Canada) have di rect responsi bi l ity f or non­
mi gratory gamebi rds. Thi s di sti ncti on, t hough l egal l y cl ear,
does not fi t the natural pi cture perfectl y. Some mi gratory
bi rds may be found the year round i n parts of t hei r range.
Some non- mi gratory speci es move l ocal l y wi th the seasons,
or wi th changes i n t he food suppl y.
MI GRATORY· GAMEBI RDS i nclude all the waterfowl
(ducks, geese and swans), the cranes, rai ls, shorebi rds,
doves and pi geons. These are the groups named i n t he
treati es wi th Canada and Mexi co. Responsi bi l i ty for them
is gi ven t he U.S. Department of t he I nteri or t hrough i ts
Fi sh and Wi l dl i fe Servi ce. The treaty provi des that bi rds
i n al l of these gr oups may be hunted, but, i n actual prac­
ti ce, the l i st of avai l abl e speci es i s l i mi ted. Rare speci es
and those whi ch have been depl eted by overs hooti ng or
f or ot her reasons are removed from t he l i st. I f and when
t hei r popul ati on ri ses t o a safe l evel , they are l isted once
more. Thus, t he open season l i st of gamebi rds vari es from
year to year wi th changi ng conditi ons. After a careful
annual s urvey, the regul ati ons for the comi ng year are di s­
tri buted by the Fi sh and Wi l dl i fe Servi ce. When the l ocal
si tuati on warrants i t, states may i mpose stri cter regul ati ons.
tabl i shed for many mi grati ng bi rds. Bi rds movi ng south
i n fal l and north i n spri ng do not move at random i n these
general di recti ons. Many speci es, especi al l y waterfowl ,
move al ong four maj or mi gratory paths or fyways. Re­
search, based l argel y on bi rd bandi ng (p. 9), di scloses
t hese patterns. The fyways are not ri gi d. Both to the north
and south t hey overl ap and are not wel l defned. But,
across t he United States, they are more pronounced. Cer­
tai n popul ati ons of bi rds tend to mi grate together and
fol l ow t he s ame fyway year after year. Thi s tendency of
certai n groups of bi rds wi thi n a speci es to stay together
makes them more vulnerabl e to overshooti ng. Concentra­
ti on of mi grati ng gamebi rds may be much greater i n one
fyway than i n another. Factors i nvol ved are t he success
of the nesti ng season, avai l abl e food, weather, and hunt­
i ng pressure. Regul ati ons on mi gratory gamebi rds are is-
sued in terms of fyways and fyway boundari es have
been adj usted to state l i nes for the conveni ence of l aw
enforcement. Both state and federal l aw enforcement
agents cooperate i n enforci ng game l aws. Best known of
these ofcers are state game wardens and U. S. Game
Management Agents.
REGULATI ONS protect the breedi ng stock of mi gratory
gamebi rds and i nsure a conti nued suppl y in years to come.
I n order to provi de for both the present and t he future,
regul ati ons must be adj usted to meet new condi ti ons. Fi el d
bi ol ogists travel hundreds of thousands of mi l es al l over
North Ameri ca to gather data. They start wi th a conti nent­
wi de census after t he hunti ng season and conti nue i nto the
next breedi ng season. They can then esti mate how many
bi rds have been ki l l ed, how many have retumed north,
and how many young have been rai sed. These facts are
presented at an annual summer conference. Fi sh and
Wi l dl i fe experts eval uate t he si tuati on and propose regu­
l ati ons for t he comi ng year. Representati ves of sports­
men' s groups, conservati on agenci es, and other i nterested
parti es present t hei r opi ni ons, too. Thus, everyone i nter­
ested enough i n gamebi rds to bel ong to one of the co­
operati ng groups can pl ay a part i n establ i shi ng regul a­
ti ons. When al l have been heard, the Fi sh and Wi l dl ife
Servi ce experts face the di fcul t task of resol vi ng difer­
ences of opi ni on and of maki ng the regul ati ons. Regul a­
ti ons are made on a Nor t h Amer i can basi s. Someti mes
l ocal concentrati ons of a bird with a c l osed season gi ve
an erroneous i mpressi on of abundance.
Maki ng an aer i al census of waterfowl i n the Arcti c.
Bi ol ogi sts maki ng brood counts.
RESEARCH on gamebi rd popul ati ons, di stri buti on, habi ts,
and diseases i s carri ed out by federal and state agenci es,
uni versi ti es, museums, and conservati on organi zati ons. A
maj or i nstrument of research is bi rd bandi ng. Bandi ng
consi sts of pl aci ng a smal l al umi num band on the leg of
a bi r d. Each band has a seri al number and requests t hat
the fnder return i t to t he U.S. Fi sh and Wi l dlife Service,
Washi ngton 25, D. C. The success of bi rd bandi ng has
been due to t wo ki nds of cooperati on. Most of the bandi ng
i s done by hi ghl y qual i fed amateurs who have speci al
permits t o li ve-trap bi rds and band t hem. Many young
bi rds are banded i n t he nest. As soon as t he band i s
attached, a record of t he number, i denti fcati on, place
a. nd date are sent to Wash i ngton. The fnder who turns i n
t he band i s equal ly i mportant. He i s asked t o fatten i t
out and s end i t i n wi th t he pl ace and date found, and t he
cause of t he bi rd' s death, i f known. I f t he fnder sends
al ong hi s own name and address, he wi l l be i nformed
when and where the bi rd was banded. Many banded
 irds are also retrapped and rel eased by banders along
mi grati on routes or when t hey retur n to thei r nesti ng
1 0
The si mpl e devi ce of bandi ng mi l l i ons of bi rds has
yi el ded remarkabl e i nformati on. I t gave the fi rst rel i abl e
fgures on l ongevi ty of bi rds i n t he wi l d. Bandi ng dat a has
establ i shed mortal ity rati os so t hat experts can now esti ­
mate the percentage of survi val of any year' s crop of
gamebi rds for each year that fol l ows. Most i mportant of
al l , bandi ng has enabl ed sci enti sts to trace mi grati on
routes and to di scover how many bi rds fl y thousands of
mi l es back and forth from thei r breedi ng grounds to wi n­
teri ng areas. The fl yway pattern (p. 7) emerged from a
study of bi rd bandi ng data over a peri od of years. Fi fty
years of bi rd bandi ng have proved the i mportance of t hi s
research but many questi ons sti l l remai n unanswered.
Hunters and bi rd watchers may see other i denti fyi ng
marks on gamebi rds. Someti mes t here i s a col ored pl asti c
band around a l eg i n addi ti on to the al umi num one. Some­
ti mes the wi ngs, neck, or the enti re bi rd i s dyed a bri ght
col or such as yel l ow or red. These types of mar ki ngs are
used i n several research proj ects. I f such a marked bi rd
i s seen or ki l l ed, report i t to the Fi sh and Wi l dl i fe Servi ce
or to your l ocal game warden. Your cooperati on i s an es­
senti al part of wi l dl i fe research.
Canada Gaase
dyed and col l ared
"Bowti es"
on Bobwhi te
REFUGE SYSTEMS are essenti al to the survi val of mi gra­
tory gamebi rds. Growi ng from a si ngl e area set asi de i n
1 903, t he system now i ncl udes cl ose t o 300 Nati onal
Wi l dl i fe Refuges. Over 200 of these ar e speci fcal l y f or
waterfowl , and fal l i nto t hree gener al grou ps-nesti ng
areas, resti ng grounds al ong t he fyways, and wi nteri ng
grounds where bi rds can find food and shel ter. Refuges
range i n si ze from smal l , coastal i sl ands of a few acres t o
huge tracts of al most 4, 000 sq. mi l es. On these areas,
whi ch are often i mproved for wi l dl ife use, bi rds fnd food,
shel ter, and frequent l y a hel pi ng hand from t he manager
and staf. State conservati on agenci es and pri vate organi ­
zati ons, such as the Nati onal Audubon Soci ety, al so mai n­
tai n refuges, many �f whi ch are for gamebi rds. The
Nati onal Parks ar e refuges al so, s i nce no hunt i ng of any
ki nd i s permitted i n t hem. Most nati onal , state and organi ­
zati onal refuges ar e open to the publ i c. Vi si tors are wel ­
comed and such a tri p i s a rewardi ng experi ence. Make
i nqui ri es i n advance. ( li st of Refuges on p. 157.)
Dyed Lesser Scoups
(see l i st, p. 157)
NON-MIGRATORY GAMEBIRDS-quai l , grouse, pheas­
ants, and turkeys-present a di ferent set of probl ems.
Control and protecti on are l ocal ized si nce t he bi rds do
not ordi nar i l y move l ong di stances across state or nati ona l
boundari es. But, because of thei r more l i mi ted movements,
non- migratory bi rds are more suscepti bl e to overshooti ng,
habitat destructi on, and ot her factors. I n most areas t he
numbers of non- mi gratory gamebi rds had been greatl y
reduced. Onl y constant vi gi l ance has produced the l ocal ,
smal l i ncreases. Though wi l d areas are decreasi ng i n si ze,
some compensati on through habi tat i mprovement ( p. 1 54)
i s possi bl e. Hunti ng regul ati ons are set by the states and
Canadi an provi nces, usual l y i n consul tati on wi t h s ports­
men and conservati on groups.
Though thei r sedentary nature makes t he management
of non- mi gratory gamebi rds somewhat easi er, the prob-
l em of habi tat destructi on has assumed maj or i mportance.
Many waterfowl breed i n the northern wi l derness where
there i s l ess human competi ti on for l and use. The breedi ng
gr ounds of the turkey have become farms, fi el ds and towns
i n the nort heastern states. Wi t h l ess and l ess l and avai l ­
abl e for gamebi rds, there i s a s hortage of food and shel ­
ter, and more di sturbance of nests and young. State con­
servati on agenci es work wi th farmers and l and owners,
showi ng them how sub-margi nal l and and woodl ots can
be i mproved for wi l dl i fe producti on. Habi tat i mprove­
ment i s al so part of the program of maj or l umber and
paper compani es, and ranchers wi th l ar ge tracts of l and.
The U. S. Forest Servi ce carri es on i t s own wi l dl i fe program.
Attempts to suppl ement t he suppl y of these desi rabl e
bi rds by rel easi ng pen-rai sed i ndi vi dual s have now been
repl aced by research programs on l ongevi ty, movements,
food and shel ter requi rements, and di sease. These are
al ready yi el di ng a l arger crop of wi l d bi rds. Upl and game­
bi rds are al l hi ghl y pri zed by sportsmen and t hei r acti ve
cooperati on hel ps i nsure a steady crop.
GAMEBI RDS AND YOU. Gamebi rds are a nati onal re­
source that bel ongs to al l peopl e-not j ust to h unters or
bi rd watchers. Everyone who spends ti me out-of-doors can
have hi s l i f e made r i cher by the si ght and sounds of these
handsome creatures. There are sti l l pl aces where wi l d
turkey gobbl ers can be seen strutti ng among t he pi nes,
and i n the aut umn a covey of quai l may burst from a
souther n roadsi de thi cket. Sportsmen have l ong known
t hat game l aws make good hunti ng possi bl e. However,
the broader probl ems of conservati on and l ong-range
land us e are j ust as i mportant. Your heri tage of wi l dli fe
merits your personal attenti on to l ocal , state and nati onal
conservati on i ssues.
h unter. There i s no si ngl e way to determi ne the si ze of a
gamebi rd. Wei ght is t he most practi cal , but even thi s is
i nadequate. The age of a bi !d,' its subspeci es and sex i n­
fl uence wei ght . So do the season, weather, l ocati on, and
even the ti me of day. Common ducks, geese, quai l and
pheasants have been wei ghed and studi ed so rel i abl e
fgures of average wei ghts ar e avai l abl e. Average
wei ghts for most other gamebi rds given i n t hi s book are
based on l i mi ted data. Much more research i s needed.
Record wei ghts are much l ess satisfactory. There are
no "ofci al records" as there is no group whi ch aut henti ­
cates and records bi rd weights. I f you shoot what you
thi nk i s a record bi rd, try the fol l owi ng suggesti ons:
1. Weigh, measure and take all notes befor� dressing bird.
2. Get down pertinent data-identification, sex (if possible), where
and when shot, circumstances, others in party, addresses.
3. Photograph the bird, wings outstretched, lying on a smooth surface.
4. Take measurements as in the diagram above; sketch and record.
5. Take your bird to the nearest game warden, conservation agent, or
refuge manager. Ask him to check identification, measurements and
6. Weigh the bird to the nearest half ounce on an inspected commercial
scale. As a favor, a postmaster might weigh your bird on a post ofce
scale and give you a signed statement of its weight.
Thousands of ki nds of bi rds have be­
come exti nct dur i ng past ages as
part of the natural process of evo­
l uti on. But, duri ng the l ast 500 years,
the human popul ati on has i ncreased
expl osi vel y, and thi s aggressive spe­
ci es i mposes a speci al threat to many
others. Because the human popul ati on i s sti l l cl i mbi ng
rapi dl y, t hi s probl em wi l l get worse. Yet, for our own
good, sci enti sts are payi ng mor e and more attenti on t o
ways of preservi ng i mportant ani mal s. Some bi rds, mam­
mal s, and fishes have been hunted and trapped i n s uch
numbers t hat t hei r exi stence has become threatened. The
Dodo, a 40- pound, fi ghtl ess pi geon, i s one famous bi rd
at became exti nct about 1 680. Other gamebi rds ( pp. 1 6-
1 7) have fol l owed. Sti l l others are l i mi ted in number and
ar e threatened speci es. Some, not i n fami l i es treated l ater,
are shown on pp. 1 8- 1 9. A few are repeated i n thei r fam­
i l i es f or compari son. That concerted acti on can save
threatened speci es has been demonstrated t i me and ti me
agai n. Control of hunti ng and shooti ng i s a frst l i ne of
defense. Of far greater i mportance i s t he preservati on
and devel opment of breedi ng and feedi ng grounds where
threatened s peci es can l i ve normal l ives.
Passenger Pi geons
1 5
Si nce the Dodo di sappeared about
1 680, nearl y one hundred s peci es
and subspeci es of bi rds have become
exti nct, and another 20 are probabl y
exti nct. Parrots, rai l s, Hawai i an hon­
eycreepers, pi geons, ducks, and
quai l s have sufered t he most.
LABRADOR DUCKS became exti nct i n 1 875. For the
previous decade they were rare; earl i er they were never
common. They wi ntered al ong the Atl anti c coast from
Mai ne to New Jersey. Labrador Ducks were bi rds of bays,
i nl ets and sand bars. They were wary and di fcul t to
shoot. Occasi onal l y hunters bagged enough to send to
market, but t he bi rds were poor eati ng and were not spe­
ci al l y hunted. Why the Labrador Duck became exti nct i s
sti l l a questi on, but even mi nor factors can become seri ous
when t he speci es popul ati on i s smal l .
ESKI MO CURLEW i s somet i mes confused wi t h t he Hud­
soni an Cur l ew, so reports that the bi rd sti l l l ives are some­
ti mes recei ved. Many experts bel i eve i t has been exti nct
for about 20 years. This bi rd bred i n the t undra of northern
Canada and mi grated out over the
Atl antic to wi nter i n t he Argenti ne
pampas. I n fal l i t was hunted i n Ber­
muda, and i n spri ng thousands were
ki l l ed i n the prai ri e states. Perhaps
Eski mo rai ds on t he nesti ng grounds,
perhaps hurri canes duri ng mi grati on
 =.. have contri buted to its exti ncti on. At
any rate, t hi s curl ew is exti nct or
near exti ncti on.
col oni al ti mes and l ater, so abun­
dant i n central U. S. t hat they were
conti nual l y used for food. They l i ved
i n the East and South al so, but not i n
as great numbers. The great col oni al
nesti ng grounds i n t he Mi dwest i n
beech, mapl e and oak forests con­
tai ned mi l l i ons, perhaps bi l l i ons of
bi rds. Indi ans used fre to ki l l nest­
i ng bi rds; l ater market hunters used dynami te. The cutti ng
of forests and uncontrol l ed hunti ng doomed these bi rds.
After 1 850 t he l arge col oni al nesti ngs were fewer; by t he
1 880' s the bi rds were rare, and the l ast one di ed i n a Ci n­
ci nnati zoo i n 1 9 1 4. Thi s was a val uabl e speci es whi ch
has l eft a gap i n our gamebi rd popul ati on.
HEATH HEN was an eastern form of t he Greater Prai ri e
Chi cken (p. 1 24) . The Heath Hen was hunted as a tabl e
and market bi rd from col oni al t i mes i n New Engl and and
south to New Jersey. The hunt i ng, and t he openi ng of
farm l and, so reduced the popul ati on that steps to protect
Heath Hens were taken as earl y as 1 791 . By 1 840 the bi rd
was rare and by 1 870 it was gone from the mai nl and. A
smal l col ony persisted on Martha' s
Vi neyard-i ncreasi ng under protec­
ti on to about 2, 000 i n 1 9 1 6. Then a
fre destroyed most of the bi rds and
t he rest of t he popul ati on rapi dl y
decl i ned. By 1 931 a si ngl e bi rd re­
mai ned. It soon l i ved out i ts pro­
tected l i fe. The western form sti l l oc­
curs in reduced numbers in Kansas,
Nebraska and other prai ri e states.
1 7
THREATENED SPECI ES may sti l l be saved t hough t he
probl em i s sel dom si mpl e. Often several i nterrel ated con­
di ti ons hove reduced t he bi rd popul ati ons; t hen, any si ngl e
one may be deci si ve. After a certai n cri ti cal poi nt, t he
bi rd i s doomed even though some survi vors remai n. Thi s
WHITE PELICAN, t hough 5 ft.
l ong wi th a 9 ft. wi ngspread, i s
someti mes mi staken for the Snow
Goose by hunters. One l ook at
i ts bi l l wi l l el i mi nate thi s error.
The Whi te Pel i can i s much l ess
common than the Brown. I I breeds
i n western l akes from Cal i
. to
Canada and, in fal l , mi grates to
the Gul f Coast and Fl ori da. Al l
t he bi r ds on t hi s page ar e com­
pl etel y protected and shoul d
never be shot.
ROSS' GOOSE (23 i n. ) i s the
smal l est N. A. g
ose -no l arger
than a duck. It i s found wi th Snow
Geese but i s di sti nctl y smal l er and
has a smal l er, red, warty bi l l . I t
breeds north of t he Arcti c Ci rcl e
i n Canada and wi nters i n the val ­
l eys of central Cal i forni a. I t was
once common, and heavi l y hunted.
SWANS are among the l argest
waterfowl , and the Tr umpeter
Swan i s our l argest speci es. Thi s
bi rd has been saved from exti nc­
ti on, though i t i s sti l l a threat­
ened species. I ts breedi ng g rounds
have extended and the chances
for its s urvival are much better
than a decade ago. Thi s 5V ft.
long white bi rd has a black bi l l .
I t may be confused wi t h the
smal l er Whi stl i ng Swan (4 ft. )
whi ch mi g rates through the same
area of· the northern Rockies.
Both bi rds feed mai nl y on water
pl ants and nest cl ose to the water.
In the East, the Mute Swan, with
an orange bi l l , i s an i ntroduced
bi rd whi ch occasi onal l y goes wi l d.
Al l speci es of swans are r i gi dl y
protected by l aw. I t i s a good
practice not to shoot any l arge
al l -white bi rd.
cri ti cal poi nt vari es wi th the ki nd of bi rd, i ts feedi ng hab­
i ts, nest i ng habi ts, mi grati ons, and ot her factors. Total
pl anni ng for t he best use of al l l and, and the mai nte­
nance of ampl e reserves of "usel ess" l ands in thei r natural
state are essenti al for preservi ng these speci es.
come a symbol of a heroi c effort
to save an outstandi ng species. Its
numbers are ·so l ow that a si ngl e
disaster cou l d wi pe out t he spe­
ci es, for the total Whoopi ng
Cr ane popul ati on has remai ned
between 20 and 40 duri ng the
past 30 years. The bi rds nest i n
northern Canada and wi nter
al ong the Gul f Coast i n Texas.
Comi ng, goi ng, and at al l ti mes
between, these l arge 5 ft. bi rds
are watched careful l y. Note the
red face, bl ack wi ng ti ps and al l ­
whi te body. Young bi rds ar e
browni sh. Space i s of paramount
i mportance i n t he preservation of
t hi s speci es. Adequate i sol ated
habi tat must be provi ded at both
ends of the mi g ration route in
northern Al berta and al ong the
Texas coast near Corpus Chri sti .
range from Mexi co i nto southern
Texas and rarel y i nto N. Mex.
and Ari z. They perch i n trees
al ong ponds and l akes and feed
i n corn fi el ds. Rel ated to the Ful ­
vous Tree Duck ( p. 33) , thi s pi nk­
bi l l ed, bl ack-bel l i ed speci es wi th
l arge whi te wi ng patches i s rare
i n U. S. , but i s sti l l common i n
Mexico and Central Ameri ca.
Swans, geese, ard ducks make up the waterfowl (fam­
i l y Anatidae). Of over 200 s peci es, some 45 are nati ve
to North Ameri ca. From earl i est ti mes these bi rds have
been i mportant, frst, as a source of food, more recentl y,
for sport. Thei r down and feathers have stufed many a
pi l l ow and comforter. Goose qui l l s were the bal l -poi nt
pens of past centuri es. Waterfowl gi ve as much pl easure
to the mi l l i ons who watch them and study t hei r habits as
they do to the sportsmen who hunt them.
SWANS: Snow-white col or; very
I orge si ze; very l ong neck; bi l l
fattened but hi gh at the base;
feed by "ti ppi ng up" in shal low
water; i n taki ng fli ght, they rise
from water onl y after r unni ng
al ong su rface. Mal e and femal e
si mi l ar i n col or. ( p. 18)
GEESE: Sexes al i ke in col or; neck
shorter than swans but l onger
than ducks; bi l l hi gh, not flat­
tened; feed on l and and in water
by "ti ppi ng up"; in taki ng fli ght,
ri se after a shari r un. Character­
i sti cs i ntermedi ate between ducks
and swans. ( pp. 22-33)
Al l waterfowl share certai n features whi ch afrm t hei r
rel ati onshi p. Some of t hese are : (1) Bi l l usual l y fattened
wi th smal l , tooth-l i ke edges; (2) Four toes on each foot,
three webbed and the fourth smal l and free; (3) Legs
short, set wide apart, maki ng t he waterfowl "waddl e";
(4) Dense feathers over a heavy l ayer of down; ( 5) Water­
fowl moul t al l of t hei r fi ght feathers at once, and are
fl i ghtl ess for a t i me each year.
Waterfowl need wet l ands. Wi th t he drai ni ng of these
l ands for more i ntensi ve human use, caref ul pl anni ng i s
needed to save these bi rds for the future.
RIVER DUCKS: Sexes di ferent i n
col or; bi l l broad and fattened;
hi nd toe s mal l , wi thout a l obe or
flap; l egs near the center of body;
feed by "ti ppi ng up" mai nl y on
pl ant food. I n taki ng fli ght, spri ng
di rectl y up wi th si ngl e bound.
( pp. 34-57)
SEA DUCKS: Sexes di ferent i n
col or; bi l l broad and flattened;
hi nd toe wi th fap or l obe. Feed
by di vi ng after fish, shel l fi sh, and
s ome mar i ne pl ants. I n taki ng
fi ght they run al ong water. Legs
short, set wel l back on body. Ex­
cel l ent swi mmers. ( pp. 58-82)
CANADA GOOSE is the best known and
most wi del y di stri buted of our waterfowl.
There are few pl aces where one or another
of the five subspeci es of thi s fine bi rd cannot
be seen at some season. These are the Common, Western,
and Lesser Canada geese, and the Ri chardson' s and
Cackl i ng geese, al l s i mi l arl y marked and varyi ng pri n­
ci pal l y i n si ze and darkness of col orati on.
Fl ocks mi grati ng north are hai l ed as harbi ngers of
spri ng and goi ng south as prophet s of wi nter. On s horter
fl i ghts to and from feedi ng grounds the flocks sel dom
assume t he wel l -known V-shape of mi grat i on fi ght, but
move i n i rregul ar groups. Many s mal l focks are fami l i es,
for geese mate for l i fe and fami l y ti es are strong. The
ol d gander usual l y l eads on mi grati on and i s bel i eved t o
teach the young the route.
Most of t hese geese nest on the ground, but occasi on­
al l y nest on c l i fs. The femal e i ncubates the fve or si x
dul l , creamy white eggs. The gander stands by for pro­
tecti on and hel ps rear the brood. Canada Geese are
known for t hei r i ntel l i gence and often hi de to avoi d de­
tecti on. They feed on l and, grazi ng on young pl ants and
pi cki ng up waste grai n. Thei r s i ze and wari ness have
made t hem a pri me favori te wi th sports men.
33-35 i n.
Honker, Bay Goose,
Goose, Ring-neck
name: Bronta canadensis
Common: Male
Lesser: Male
Cackling: Male
Average Record
lb. oz. lb. oz.
8 7 13 12
7 5 13 0
5 12 10 8
5 8 8 8
3 6 5 9
2 15 5
Common: 32-40 in. Lesser: 26-30 in.
Flight Speeds: Chased : 60 mph
Cruising: 20-45 mph
BRANT, a true sal t-water
goose, is sel dom found away from t he sea.
On our s hores, most wi nter from New J ersey
south to the North Carol i na sounds. The brant
i s a smal l goose, not much l arger t han a Mal l ard. I t s bl ack
head and neck wi t h a whi te col l ar, broken before and
behi nd, are di sti ncti ve. Thi s and t he shar p break between
the dark neck and l i ght bel l y ai d i denti fcati on. I n wi nter
thi s goose feeds mai nl y on eel grass, whi ch grows i n ti dal
water. Some years ago di sease al most destroyed t he eel
grass beds and wi t h t hem t he br ant . Recentl y t he eel grass
has started to recover and brant are on the i ncrease.
Brant nest al ong the Arcti c coast where t hree to five eggs
are deposited i n a wel l -made nest. The femal e al one i n­
cubates but t he the mal e hel ps rai se t he young. They fy
i n l ong l i nes l ow over t he water, abreast or i n i rregul ar
bunches, wi t h no wel l -defned l eader.
Lo<al names: Block Brant
Scientifc name: Branto bernie/a
Size: 24 in.
Flight speeds: 45 mph
Weights: Average
lb. oz.
3 5
2 12
lb. oz.
4 0
3 ll
BLACK BRANT, t he Paci fic coast speci es,
is much l i ke t he Ameri can Brant and, l i ke i t,
prefers sal t bays and estuari es. It is darker,
t he bl ack of t he head and neck shadi ng i nto
the dark breast bel ow. A fl i ght of these s mal l geese i s
fasci nat i ng to watch. They fl y swi ftl y, l ow over the water,
abreast i n l i ne. From t i me to t i me they al l s hift di recti on
f or a moment and t hen swi ng back on course. Thi s
maneuver i s often accompani ed by a change of el evati on,
gi vi ng t he l i ne a r i si ng and fal l i ng patter n. The Paci fc
coast eel grass sufered no l oss from di sease so t he popu­
l ati on of Bl ack Brant i s sti l l qui te good.
Local names: China Goose, Eskimo
Goose, Sea Brant
Scientifc name: Branla
Weights: Average
Size: 23-29 in.
lb. oz.
3 7
3 0
Flight speeds: 45 mph
lb. oz.
4 14
3 1 0
WHI TE - FRONTED GEESE, known more
commonl y as Speckl ebel l i es, are pri mari l y
western bi rds, rare on t he East Coast. Rec­
ogni ze them by the spotted or spl otched bl ack
and whi te bel l y whi ch gi ves t hem t hei r com­
mon name. The central val l ey of Cal i forni a
and t he coasts of Texas and loui si ana are the
pri nci pal wi nteri ng areas of thi s goose. Here
at ti mes they are abundant. They are found i n Europe
and Asi a as wel l as i n North Ameri ca. li ke most geese,
the Whi te-fronts breed i n the Arcti c. Nests are depres­
si ons in the t undra l i ned wi th down, dri ed grass and
l eaves. The fi ve or s i x eggs take about a month t o hatch
i nto smal l yel l ow gosl i ngs. September often fnds these
geese on thei r wi nteri ng grounds, as they are one of the
fi rst to mi grate. They fy hi gh, often i n V' s l i ke Canada
Geese, and can be mi staken for them at l ong range. Thei r
cal l i s a l oud l aughi ng wah-wah-wah whi ch has given
these bi rds another l ocal name, laughi ng Goose. Whi te­
fronted Geese prefer pl ant food. They spend much of
their ti me grazi ng on young shoots and waste gr ai ns of
wheat, ri ce and bar l ey. In one part of t he Sacramento
Val l ey a l arger, darker, whi te-fronted goose has been
descri bed and named the Tul e Goose. It i s sai d to prefer
wi l l ow- l i ned sl oughs and
beds of tul es (cattai l ) rather
than the open country pre­
ferred by its smal l er ki n.
The nesti ng grounds of t he
Tul e Goose, far up i n the
Arcti c on a tri butary of the
Perry River, were not di s­
covered unt i l the summer
of I 94I .
Local names: Speckl ebel l y, Gray
Wavy, Brant, Laughi ng Goose
Scienti fc name: Anser albifrons
Wei ghts: Average Record
Whi te-front :
Mal e
Femal e
Tul e:
Mal e
Femal e
Si :e: 27-30 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
l b. oz. l b. oz.
5 5 7 5
4 1 4 6 8
6 1 0 7 8
5 1 2 6 8
No i nformati on
SNOW GEESE (two wel l -defned subspecies)
are probabl y the most abundant of our geese.
The most common i s the lesser Snow Goose, a
bi rd of the Mi ssi ssi ppi Val l ey and the West. I n
past years al most i ncredi bl e numbers were
found i n Cal i forni a and on the Texas coast. But, l i ke many
speci es, it was sadl y reduced. However, great focks are
sti l l seen, possi bl y due in some degree to the l ess desi rabl e
tabl e qual i ti es of t hi s bi rd.
Snows fy i n l ong di agonal l i nes and curves, and some­
ti mes in V' s. Whi l e on t he wi ng and much of the t i me on
the ground they keep up a steady chorus of hi gh pi tched,
shri l l cri es. The Arcti c coast is thei r nesti ng ground. Four to
ei ght eggs are l ai d in earl y June.
The Greater Snow Goose i s found on t he At l anti c coast
and is much l ess common than its wester n rel ati ve. Al l of
them wi nter in a rather restricted part of the coast from
Maryl and to North Carol i na. I t i s a l arger and chunki er
bi rd than the lesser Snow Goose.
The rare Ross' Goose, l ooki ng l i ke a mi ni ature Snow
Goose, is just about the si ze of a Mal l ard. These ti ny
geese al l wi nter i n a smal l part of t he Sacrament o Val l ey,
where they are ri gi dl y protected. Thei r smal l si ze and
si l ence on the wi ng set t hem apart fr om t he Snows.
local names: Brant, Whi te Brant,
Whi te Wavy
Sci enti fc name: Chen hyperborea
Weights: Average Record
Mal e
Femal e
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 23-38 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
l b. oz. l b. oz.
7 4 1 0 7
6 2 6 8
5 4 6 1 2
4 1 1 5 9
Chased: 50 mph
BLUE GOOSE is the most di sti ncti ve North
Ameri can goose. Its whi te head and dark
body set i t apart i nstantl y. Years ago i t was a
bi rd of mystery and was thought rare unt i l i ts
mai n wi nteri ng grounds on t he coast of loui si­
ana were found. Bl ue Geese are someti mes
fantasti cal l y abundant there - i n a narrow
stri p from the del ta of the Mi ssi ssi ppi Ri ver to
near Vermi l i on Bay. They occur east and west
of t hi s zone onl y as straggl ers. I t was not unti l 1 929 that
thei r Arcti c breedi ng grounds were di scovered on Bafn
and Southampton Isl ands. On mi grati ons Bl ue Geese move
i n l arge focks and, i n the fal l , wi th l arge n umbers of Snow
Geese, they congregate in James Bay before movi ng
south. I n habi ts the Bl ue Goose i s l i ke the Snow Goose,
and the two are consi dered by some authori ti es to be
col or phases of a si ngl e speci es. Hybri ds occur regul ar l y.
These sh�w whi te on the body, usual l y on the bel l y.
Bl ue Geese feed mai nl y on the roots of sedges, grasses,
and cattai l s. They feed i n dense focks, each bi rd di ggi ng
a smal l hol e and eat i ng roots as found unt i l a meadow or
l ow pasture i s reduced to a shal l ow, muddy pool . Bl ue
Geese are noi sy bi r ds and on the wi nteri ng gr ounds there
i s a constant sound l i ke that of di stant surf.
Bl ue Goose
j uveni l e
Whi te-fronted Goose
j uveni l e
Local names: Brant, Bl ue Brant,
Bl ue Wavy
Sci enti fc name: Chen caerulescens
Weights: Average Record
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 25· 30 in.
Fl i ght speeds:
Snow Goose
lb. oz. lb. oz.
5 B 7 8
4 1 3 6 4
Probabl y si mi l ar to
EMPEROR GOOSE has been seen by fewer
peopl e than any other goose. Thi s i s too bad,
as it is one of t he most attracti ve geese. A
mari ti me bi rd, it spends its l i fe wi thi n a few
mi l es of the coast. Most Emperors breed i n northern
Al aska. The Eski mos of that regi on t ake many for food.
Even i n wi nter it i s a bi rd of the north, l i vi ng in the Al eu­
ti an I sl ands and on t he sout hwest coast of Al aska. Onl y
straggl ers reach t he s hores of Was hi ngton, Oregon and
Cal i for ni a. The food of t hi s goose is pri nci pal l y mussel s
and other s hel l fsh, gi vi ng the fes h a strong odor and
stronger favor.
Local names: Beach Goose, Paint·
ed Goose
Scientifc name: Phi/acte canagica
Weights: Average Record
Size: 26 in.
Flight speeds:
lb. oz. lb. oz.
6 10 6 12
6 1 6 14
No information
FULVOUS TREE DUCK represents a tropi cal
fami l y whi ch fnds its way i nto t he S. W. Tree
ducks are goose-l i ke i n posture and, l i ke
geese, the mal es and femal es are s i mi l ar. They
moul t onl y once a year. The Ful vous Tree Duck is easi l y
i denti fied by i ts l ong neck, l egs proj ecti ng beyond t ai l
when i n fl i ght, and by i t s tawny-brown col or. Anot her tree
duck, the Bl ack- bel l i ed (p. 1 9), occasi onal l y enters south
Texas. Tree ducks nest i n hi gh grasses al ong marshes. The
nests, whi ch l ack a l i ni ng of down, contai n 1 2-1 7 whi te,
roundi s h eggs. Tree ducks feed on grass and weed seeds,
ri ce, al fal fa and acorns.
Local names: Mexican Squealer,
Squealer, long-legged Duck
Scientific nome: Dendrocygna
Size: 20-2 1 in.
lb. oz.
1 1 1
1 10
lb. oz.
1 4
Flight speeds: No information
MALLARDS i ntroduce t he subfami l y of ri ver
and pond, or surface ducks (p. 2 1 ). Mal l ards
are the most i mportant ducks to man, being
the ancestor of nearl y al l domesti c forms
whi ch are pri zed for thei r feat hers, .esh, and eggs. Mal ­
l ards l ive throughout the Northern Hemi sphere but are l ess
common in eastern U. S. , bei ng repl aced t here by t hei r
cl ose rel ati ve, t he Bl ack Duck. Mal l ards wi nter mai nl y i n
the l ower Mi ssi ssi ppi Val ley and Gul f Coast, movi ng north
as ice mel ts. Most of t hei r breedi ng gr ound i s in Canada.
For i denti fcati on note t he mal e' s yel l ow bi l l , green
head, and neck wi th a white ri ng. The femal e i s a streaked,
mottl ed buf-brown. look for t he white borders on the
bl ue wi ng patches. Mal es moul t i n summer and devel op
pl umage l i ke the femal es. Then, i n fal l , a second moul t
produces t he stri ki ng pattern of breedi ng pl umage.
Mal l ards feed mai nl y on water and marsh pl ants,
si onal l y taki ng grai n, l arger seeds, hi ckory nuts and
acorns. They nest on fai rl y dry ground, usual l y near
water, but occasi onal l y i n trees. Femal es l ay 8 to 1 0 eggs,
i ncubati ng them for about 26 days. The femal e al one
cares for t he yel l ow-and- bl ack, downy young. The mal es
go of and gather i n smal l fl ocks. Mal l ards are l arge
ducks, excel l ent eati ng, and
pri zed by hunters. Many
hybri ds wi th other ducks are
known. (See page 44. )
Mal e in earl y fal l .
Local names: Greenhead, Engl i sh
Duck, Wi l d Duck, Stock Duck
Sci enti fc name: Anas platyrhyn-
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 20-28 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
l b. oz.
2 1 1
2 5
l b. oz.
4 4
3 1 0
Crui si ng: 3 0 mph
Chased: 40-50 mph
BLACK DUCK, cl ose rel ati ve of the Mal l ard, is smal l er,
faster, and much more common i n t he East where i t out­
numbers al l other ri ver ducks. I t i s a strong fi er, wary and
hard t o decoy. A Bl ack Duck takes of from t he water i n
an 8 ft. l eap; may di ve when pressed. I n fi ght t he white
l i ni ng of the wi ngs hel ps i denti fcati on. Cl oser, note the
mottl ed brown col or (not bl ack despite its
FEATHERS name) . The metal l i c bl ue specul um on the
femal e
wi ngs l acks a white border. The ol der name
of Dusky Duck i s more descri ptive of t he bi rd.
Mal e and femal e are si mi l ar . Note di ferences
i n breast feathers i l l ustrated to the l eft.
Bl ack Ducks nest al ong the mi ddl e Atl anti c
seaboard, north and west t hrough the Great
lakes, and up through Newfoundl and. The
nest i s wel l conceal ed, usual l y on t he ground
near water. Smal l i sl ands wi th thi ck vegeta­
ti on are favorite nest si tes
. Ei ght to 1 2 eggs
are l aid and cared for by the femal e. Bl ack
Ducks take more ani mal food, especi al l y mol ­
l usks and i nsects, than Mal l ards. Pl ant food is
mai nl y water pl ants. Bl ack Ducks are more
often found i n sal t marshes and near sal t
wat er than other ri ver ducks.
I n fal l Bl ack Ducks mi grate earl y, wi nteri ng
al l through the Southeast. Red l egged Bl ack
Ducks are not a subspeci es, as previ ousl y
thought, but merel y ol der i ndi vi dual s, usual ly
l arger and wi th red feet.
36 k|V£k DUCKS
Local names: Redl eg, Bl ack Mal ­
l ard, Bl acki e
Sci enti fc name: Anas rubripes
Wei ghts: Average Record
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 2 1 -25 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
l b. oz. l b. oz.
2 1 1 3 1 2
2 6 3 4
Cr ui si ng: 26 mph
k| V£k DUCKS 37
MEXICAN DUCK (New Mexi can Duck) is l i mi ted to a
restricted S.W. area, but even here it i s easi l y confused
wi th t he femal e Mal l ard, bei ng onl y s l i g htl y darker i n
col or and wi th a bri ghter bi l l ( see bel ow) . Mexi can Ducks
l i ve al ong t he upper Ri o Grande on bars and mudfl ats.
They are s hy, wary bi rds, stronger and faster in fl i ght
t han Mal l ards, wi th whi ch t hey
are often seen. Mexi can Ducks
feed on water and marsh pl ants.
At ni ght they vent ure i nto i rri­
gated fel ds of grai n. No wei ght
or fl i ght speed data i s avai l abl e.
MOTTLED DUCK l i ves onl y al ong t he Gul f and in Fl or­
i da. Here it i s more common than Bl ack Ducks, wi th whi ch
i t i s often f ound. The Mott l ed Duck is l i ghter i n col or wi th
greater contrast between the head and t he body. I ts yel ­
l ow bi l l does not have dark patches, as does the femal e
Mal l ard' s. I n t hi s respect i t i s l i ke t he Mexi can Duck ( p. 38) .
I t does not mi grate and i s l es s shy t han the Bl ack Duck.
The Mottl ed Duck i s al so cal l ed the Fl ori da or Summer
Mal l ard. Once t he Fl ori da f or m was consi dered a separate
speci es-t he F l ori da Duck. The Mott l ed Duck nests i n hi gh
grass near t he water, l ayi ng 8 t o 1 0 eggs whi ch t he femal e
al one cares for. These ducks eat much ani mal food-mol ­
l usks and i nsects. F l i ght speed and wei ghts are probabl y
s i mi l ar to Bl acks'.
GADWALL ranges t he wor l d over except i n
South Ameri ca an d Austral ia, yet i t i s not a
very common bi rd. I n North Ameri ca it is more
abundant in the central pl ai ns and the West,
t hough it wi nters i n t he South and Southeast.
The Gadwal l has few good fiel d marks for i denti fcati on .
The mal e is gray, bl ack around the tai l , and has much
whi te i n the wi ng specul um. The femal e i s browner and
si mi l ar to Pi ntai l s and Wi dgeon . Gadwal l s move south
l ate i n the fal l and return north earl y i n the spr i ng. They
travel in smal l fl ocks, often wi th Pi ntai l s and Wi dgeon.
The Gadwal l is not especi al l y pri zed as a gamebi rd, yet
it is good eati ng. I ts food i s al most ent i rel y vegetabl e
(98% i n fal l and wi nter) and i ncl udes much pondweed,
sedge and bul rush. Gadwal l s occasi onal l y feed i n gr ai n
fiel ds . They di ve for food more t han other pond ducks.
They al so wal k wel l , and search for gr ai n far from t hei r
ponds. They nest i n hi gh grass, somet i mes qui te far from
water, t hough i sl ands seem preferred. Ten to 1 2 whi te
eggs are l ai d. When the young ducks hatch, they feed
mai nl y on s mal l water i nsects. The pri nci pal nesti ng area
i s s hown on the range map. Both the mal e and the femal e
have a l oud quack whi ch i s hi gher i n tone t han that of
the femal e Mal l ard.
Local names: Gray Duck, Gaddy,
Gray Widgeon
Scientifc name: Anas strepera
Weights: Average Record
Size: 1 9-2 1 i n.
lb. oz. lb. oz.
2 0 2 1 0
1 1 3 3 0
Flight speeds: Crui si ng: 29 mph
AMERI CAN WI DGEON, or Bal dpate,
breeds and usual l y wi nters on thi s cont i nent,
though a few conti nue to the West I ndi es and
northern S. Ameri ca. I n fl i ght bot h t he mal e
and femal e show a whi te patch on t he forewi ng. Other­
wi se t he femal e i s si mi l ar to the fema l e Gadwal l ( p. 40)
but has pi nker sides and a whi ter breast. Note the mal e' s
whi te crown, pi nki sh si des, and the white spot near t he
tai l . Wi dgeon are al ert, nervous bi rds and often warn
ot her ducks of danger when feedi ng. They fl y i n smal l ,
compact focks, movi ng rapi dl y and di rect l y. I n mi d­
spri ng they start north towards breedi ng grounds among
i nl and ponds and swamps, t hough t he nest i t sel f may not
be cl ose to water. I n it 9 to 1 1 creamy whi te eggs ar e
l ai d. Whi l e t he mal e stays around unt i l the moul t i ng sea­
son, it does not care for the young. Because Wi dgeon
come north l ate, they are among t he l ast ducks to com­
pl ete egg l ayi ng. The young hatch in 24 to 25 days.
Wi dgeon feed i n s hal l ow water. They al so graze l i ke
geese i n fel ds of grai n or al fal fa. Roots of .ater cel ery
and other deep water pl ants are r el i shed; t hey often steal
these from di vi ng ducks. Thi s habi t gi ves t hem the l ocal
name of "Poacher. " Wi dgeon move qui ckl y and keep
hunters al ert. They are not a preferred t abl e bi rd.
Local names: Baldpate, Widgeon,
Blue-billed Widgeon, Whistler,
Scientifc name: Mareca ameri·
con a
Weights: Average
lb. oz.
Mol e 1 1
Female 8
Size: 1 8- 22 in.
lb. oz.
2 8
1 1 4
Flight speeds: Cruising : 2 2 mph
EUROPEAN WI DGEON, bel ow, is a vi si tor to coastal
states. It rar el y goes i n l and. Note the mal e' s rust-red head,
creamy crown, and gray, body, i n contrast to the overal l
brown of t he mal e Ameri can Wi dgeon. Femal e i s s i mi l ar
to Amer i can speci es but head i s more reddi sh. The Euro­
pean Wi dgeon i s l ocal l y cal l ed a Redhead Wi dgeon.
Wei g hts r un s l i ght l y l ess t han the Amer i can Wi dgeon.
PI NTAILS are rated, after Mal l ards and
Bl ock Ducks, as the t hi rd most popul ar water­
fowl . They are excel l ent hunti ng and equal l y
good eat i ng. Thei r l ong, t hi n s hape i denti fi es
both mal e and femal e i n the ai r. When t he mal e is swi m­
mi ng, i t s t hi n tai l i s al so conspi cuous. Pi ntai l s are fast,
hi gh fi ers, droppi ng i nto a feedi ng ar ea wi th a steep
rush. Pi ntai l s have the wi dest breedi ng di stri buti on of any
ri ver duck. They breed over a l arge area i n t he N. W. ­
al so i n northern Europe and Asi a-and wi nter al ong al l
our coasts except i n New Engl and. Pi ntai l s move north
soon after t he l akes are free of i ce. Bi rds pai r of en route
and are ready to nest ear l y. less than ten eggs are l ai d
and t ended by t he femal e. The mal e stands by unti l he
goes of t o moul t . I n fal l Pi ntai l s move south ear l y and,
especi al l y i n Cal i forn i a, feed i n grai n fi el ds on the way,
occasi onal l y becomi ng a probl em to farmers.
Pi ntai l s feed by "ti ppi ng up" i n typi cal ri ver duck
fashi on, but they have the advantage of l onger necks.
Food i s mai nl y water pl ants and seeds-bul rush, smart­
weed and pondweed preferred. Mol l usks and i nsects make
up t he ani mal food. The voi ce of t he mal e Pi ntai l i s a l ow
mel l ow whi stl e; that of the femal e a l ow quack.
BAHAMA DUCK of the West
Indies is a small bird ( 15-18
inches). male and female similar.
Note the white cheek and throat.
Overshooting has depleted this
handsome species.
MALLARD HYBRI D is onl y one
of many natural crosses involving
Mallards (p. 34) and others. Note
the Mallard head color and the
sharp but up-curved tail, combin­
ing characteristics of both Pintail
and Mallard.
Local names: Spri g, Spri g-tai l ,
Longneck, Gr ay Duc k (femal e)
Scientifc name: Anas acuta
Wei ghts: Average Record
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 26-30 i n.
l b. oz. l b. oz.
2 3 3 7
1 13 2 6
Fl i ght speeds: Chased : 65 mph
GREEN-WI NGED TEAL is the smal l est and
one of the most beauti ful waterfowl . The dark
red head and whi te crescent in front of the
shoul der i dentify the mal e. Teal fl y swiftl y and
errati cal l y. Thei r smal l si ze and qui ck getaway make thei r
speed seem even greater than i t i s. Teal come i n a dense
fock, wheel i ng and t urni ng i n uni son l i ke a band of sand­
pi pers. Thi s fi ght pattern i s characteri sti c.
Green-wi nged Teal move north very ear l y i n spri ng to
nesti ng grounds i n the northern prai ri es and i n western
Canada. The nest i s i n hi gh grass, usual l y near water. Ten
to 1 2 eggs are l ai d, occasi onal l y as many as 1 8. The mal e
deserts t he femal e soon after t he eggs are l ai d.
Green- wi nged Teal ar e pri mari l y pl ant-eaters, maki ng
wi de use of seeds of bul rush, pondweed and panic grass.
Ani mal food i ncl udes i nsects and mol l usks. I n turn, they
are excel l ent eati ng and are favori tes of hunters. They
respond to decoys and ci rcl e an area even dur i ng fi ri ng.
The Common Teal , s i mi l ar to t he Green- wi nged, l acks
t he white crescent on the wi ng but has a hori zontal whi te
bar. Thi s Eurasi an bi rd occasi onal l y vi si ts our Nort hwest
and East coast. I t i s more common i n the Al euti ans.
Local names: Common Teal , Teal ,
Butterbal l , Red-head Teal
Sci enti fc name: Anas carolinensis
Wei ghts: Average Record
Mol e
Femal e
Size: 1 3- 1 5 i n.
l b. oz. l b. oz.
0 1 3 1 0
0 1 1 0 1 5
Fl i ght speeds: Cr ui si ng: 3 0 mph
Chased : 40 mph
BLUE-WI NGED TEAL i s, l i ke its rel ati ves, a
smal l , pl ump, speedy duck, as wi del y known
and as admi red by hunters. The Bl ue-wi ng i s
a bi rd of the New Worl d (other teal range
i nto Europe and Asi a). I t i s most common i n t he eastern
and central part of the conti nent and occurs but rarel y on
t he Paci fc coast. I n wi nter t he Bl ue-wi ngs go fart her south
than any other North Ameri can duck. They are common i n
Mexi co, where they are wi del y hunted, and some go as far
as Brazi l and Chi l e. Thei r northern mi grati on begi ns l ate
i n the spri ng and reaches its peak after other waterfowl
have moved on. The nesti ng grounds of t he Bl ue-wi nged
Teal are in the ponds, marshes and pothol es of the north ·
ern pl ai ns of the U. S. and Canada. The actual l and avai l ­
abl e for nesti ng has been cut down by agri cul ture and
drai nage of swamps. However, the establ i shment of refuge
areas now hel ps preserve the teal popul at i on. The nest,
wel l l i ned with down, is in tal l grass near t he water. The
femal e l ays 1 0 to 1 2 cream or l i ght ol i ve eggs which
hatch in about 2 1 days. She al one cares for the eggs and
Fal l mi grati on begi ns earl y. Often the ol der mal es move
south separatel y. Late nesti ng tends to del ay the depar­
ture of the young, though t hey grow and mat ure rapi dl y.
Later fi ghts are mai nl y young a
d femal es. Bl ue-wi ngs
mi grate l ei surel y, l i ngeri ng at ponds to feed. Bl ue- wi ngs
prefer to feed i n very shal l ow water and hence make more
use of farm ponds t han other ducks. They take more ani ­
mal food ( mai nl y mol l usks and wat er i nsects) t han Green­
wi ngs, but about 70% of t hei r di et is seeds and soft parts
of water pl ants. Li ke other teal they are excel l ent eati ng
and, because they fy i n ti ght focks and respond readi l y
to decoys, Bl ue-wi ngs make good targets for hunters. The
voi ces of both mal e and femal e are weak.
48 k| V£k DUCKS
Local names: Teal , Bl ue Teal , Sum­
mer Teal
Scientifc name: Anas discors
Weights: Average Record
Mal e
Femol e
Si ze: 1 5- 1 6 i n.
l b. oz. l b. oz.
0 1 4 1 4
0 1 3 1 3
Fl i ght speeds: Probabl y the same
os other teal -crui si ng, 30-40 mph;
chased, up to SO mph.
k| V£k DUCKS 4º
CI NNAMON TEAL is the onl y ri ver duck
wi th a range l i mi ted to the area west of the
Rocky Mts. Another group of these ducks l i ve
in S. America but have no mi grati ons or other
connections to the N. American group. The
mal e, wi th i ts ci nnamon- red col or, cannot be mi staken,
but the drab femal e i s al most i denti cal wi th the femal e
Bl ue-wi ng except that the bi l l i s l onger. Mi grati on i s
si mpl e; i t consi sts onl y of wi thdrawal from the northern
art of the range i n fal l . Over most of i ts range the Ci n­
namon Teal i s a permanent resident. The nest, of down­
l i ned grass, i s pl aced near the water. Unl i ke other ducks,
however, the mal e stays nearby and hel ps rear the young.
The femal e l ays 6 t o 1 4 eggs and i ncubates them al one.
The smal l focks seen i n the fal l are usual l y fami l y g�oups.
Large focks are rare. Southern bi rds move north i n March
and Apri l .
Ci nnamon Teal feed i n very shal l ow water or on banks
of ponds and sl oughs. Most of thei r food is bul rush, pond­
weed, sal tgrass and sedge-both seeds and soft parts.
I nsects and mol l usks are the pri nci pal ani mal food. These
ducks are an i mportant game speci es over al l thei r range.
Thei r fi ght habits are si mi l ar to other teal .
50 k| V£k DUCKS
local names: Bl ue-wi ng, Red Teal ,
Ri ver Teal
Scientifc name: Anas cyanoptera
Weights: Average Record
Mol e
femal e
Size: 1 5- 1 7 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
l b. oz. l b. oz.
0 1 3 1 3
0 1 3 1 2
Crui si ng: 33 mph
Chased: 50 mph
k| V£k DUCKS 5 1
SHOVELLER, named for i ts huge, spoon­
shaped bi l l , i s a wel l - known and wi del y di s­
tri buted duck. It is found throughout t he North­
ern Hemi sphere and has cl ose rel ati ves in the
Souther n. Except for i ts bi l l , the femal e Shov­
el l er i s nondescri pt-mott l ed brown wi th some bl ue on the
wi ng. The mal e i s bri ght and di sti ncti vel y marked, show­
i ng more whi te than any other ri ver duck. Shovel l ers are
c l osel y rel ated to teal and resembl e t hem i n fi ght, but
usual l y fy more s l owl y and di rectl y. They have t he same
wi ng pattern as Bl ue-wi ngs. Shovel l ers move north l ate i n
spri ng and head south ear l y i n fal l . On t he southward
move, Shovel l ers often fy wi th Bl ue-wi ngs but, when
movi ng north, t hey tend to stay i n smal l focks by them­
sel ves. On t he breedi ng grounds a femal e Shovel l er i s
often accompani ed by two or more mal es. She nests near
a pond or s l ough and l ays 6 to 1 4 pal e ol i ve- buf eggs.
Newl y-hatched young have n ormal l y proporti oned bi l l s,
but wi thi n two weeks t he di sti ncti ve si ze and shape are
evi dent. Meanwhi l e, the mal es have l eft to form smal l
summer focks. Shovel l ers are surface feeders. They swi m
s l owl y, l ow i n the water, wi th bi l l s poi nted downward. As
food they take seeds and soft parts of water pl ants; al so, .
more smal l ani mal l i fe t han other ducks. They strai n l arvae
of water i nsects and smal l crustaceans out of the mud wi th
t he unusual l y wel l -devel oped, comb- l i ke "teet h" i n thei r.
bi l l s. Shovel l ers respond to decoys but t bei r fl esh has a
poor favor and texture.
Local names: Spoony, Spoon-bi l l ,
Broad- bi l l , Shovel - bi l l
Scientifc name: Spat ula
Weights: Average
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 1 7-20 i n.
l b. oz.
l b. oz.
2 0
1 1 0
Flight speeds: Cr ui s i ng: 2 5 mph
Chased : 50 mph
WOOD DUCK, prai sed as t he most hand­
some waterfowl , i s a medi um- si zed bi rd of
wooded ri ver bottoms and forested streams.
Wood Ducks fl y rapi dl y through t he trees,
twi sti ng and dodgi ng wi th great agi l i ty. I n fi ght they
hol d thei r heads hi gh wi th bi l l s poi nted down. Thi s posi ­
ti on, and t he duck' s l ong dark tai l make both sexes easy
to i denti fy. There are two popul ati ons of Wood Ducks i n
t he U. S. , one i n t h e East and t h e other i n t h e N. W.
These do not mi x but both mi grate, movi ng south i n thei r
range duri ng wi nter. Wood Ducks l ay thei r eggs i n trees­
i n a natural cavity or i n the abandoned hol e of a l arge
woodpecker. Ei ght to 1 5 smal l round eggs are l ai d. They
hatch in about 27 days and the downy young, whi ch have
sharp cl aws and a hook nai l at t he t i p of t hei r bi l l , cl i mb
t o t he entrance of the hol e and j ump t o t he ground. They
are so l i ght they are n ot i nj ured by the fal l . The Wood
Duck di et i s mai nl y vegetabl e. Wi l d ri ce, pondweed, dog­
wood and acorns are preferred foods, but other seeds,
frui ts and soft pl ants are eaten. I n spri ng and ear l y sum­
mer some i nsects are taken, too. Wood Ducks are favor­
i tes of sportsmen, hunted n ot onl y as food but al so as
54 k|V£k DUCKS
trophi es and as a source of
feathers for maki ng trout
fi es. Hunt i ng pl us drai nage
of swamps once depl eted
the Wood Duck popul ati on.
Now it i s parti al l y restored
and l i mi ted hunt i ng i s per­
mi tted. Wood Ducks move
wel l on l and and swi m rap­
i dl y. The typi cal cal l , ooo­
eek, ooo-eek, i s usual l y gi v­
en as the bi rds take of.
Local names: Woody, Summer
Duck, Squeal er, Tree Duck
Sci enti fc name: Aix sponsa
Wei ghts: Average Record
l b. oz. l b. oz.
Mal e 1 9 2 0
Femal e 1 7 2 0
Size: 1 7-20 i n.
Fl i ght speeds: 30-50 mph
k| V£k 0dCk5 55
Femal e
RUDDY DUCKS ( and Masked Ducks), i n thei r
own subfami l y, are uni que i n many ways. The
mal e Ruddy Duck has two compl ete pl umages,
as shown on the next page. The dark crown,
whi te cheeks, stif tai l and chunky shape i dentify i t any
ti me of the year. Ruddys do not ri se from the water easi l y,
but patter al ong for some distance before taki ng of. Thei r
rapi d wi ng beats give t hem a fast buzzy fi ght, usual l y
l ow over t he water. They can si nk wi thout di vi ng and use
this odd tal ent as a means of escape. On l and they are
very awkward. The mal e carri es its tai l erect. I t has a
bri ght bl ue bi l l .
Femal es l ay 6 t o 1 2 eggs whi ch ar e huge f or t he bi rds'
si ze, i n a nest hung i n thi ck reeds over t he water or even
set on a foati ng l og. The mal e Ruddy, unl i ke most other
ducks, hel ps to care for the young.
The di et of the Ruddy Duck i s mai nl y seeds and soft
parts of water pl ants. These are secured by di vi ng. I n
summer, water i nsects, smal l mol l usks and crustaceans
are eaten, too.
56 RIVER 0dCk5
Ruddy Duck
mal e
Local names: Butterbal l , Broadbi l l ,
Spi kebi l l , Bumbl ebee Coot
Scientifc name: Oxyura
Wei ghts:
Mal e
Femal e
l b. oz.
l b. oz.
1 1 2
1 7
Si ze: 1 4· 1 7 i n .
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformati on
MASKED DUCK, bel ow, si mi l ar to t he Ruddy Duck and
rel ated, has a bl ack head, white wi ng patch, and mott l ed
back. The femal e i s si mi l ar to the Ruddy but has two
bl ack streaks on its head, and a white wi ng patch l i ke
t he mal e' s. The Masked Duck, common i n t he tropi cs, oc­
casi onal l y enters the l ower Rio Grande Val l ey of Texas.
I ts habi ts are general l y l i ke those of the Ruddy Duck. .
Masked Duck
REDHEADS i ntroduce the sea or di vi ng ducks
( p. 21 ), wel l -known and wi del y d i str i but ed.
Al l have common subfami l y features and hab­
i ts. They occur i n al l states duri ng some part of
t he year, spreadi ng out from breedi ng
gr ounds i n south central Canada and north central U. S.
Among di vi ng ducks t hey r ank second onl y to Canvas­
backs as a game speci es. Mi grati ng Redheads fy i n
V-shaped fl ocks but on shorter fl i ghts they move i n bunches
or in i rregu l ar l i nes. Thei r fi ght is fast and di rect. They
drop down from great hei ghts wi th a l oud r i ppi ng sound
of wi ngs. F l ocks usual l y fl y bot h morni ng and eveni ng.
Dur i ng t he day t hey wi l l fush and sett l e back at i nterval s.
The wel l - made nest i s pl aced i n cattai l s or bul rushes near
deep water . I t may contai n 1 0- 1 5 eggs wli ch t he femal e
i ncubates al one. Femal es may al so l ay eggs i n any ot her
nearby duck nests. The redhead' s di et i s 90% vegetabl e­
a hi gher percentage t han
other di vi ng ducks' . leaves
and stems of aquati c pl ants
such as pondweed, wi l d
cel ery, bul r ush and wi d­
geongrass ar e preferred.
Redheads di ve for t hese
and al so feed i n shal l ows,
with river ducks, for water
i nsects, mol l usks and snai l s.
Redheads are endan­
gered because t hei r breed­
i ng grounds are i n areas
suitabl e for agri cul t ure.
Wi th establ i s hment of ade­
quate refuges thei r future
may be made more secure.
Local names: Fi ddl er, Red-headed
Bl uebi l l
Sci enti fc name: Ayt hya americana
Wei ghts: Average Record
Mol e
Femal e
Si :e: 1 8-23 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
l b. oz. l b. oz.
2 7 3 0
2 3 3 1 5
Cr ui s i ng: 4 2 mph
Chased : 55 mph
5£A 0dCk5 59
.. . _ .
CANVASBACK is t he most famous of our
waterfowl . I t is an epi cure' s del i ght and a
t hri l l to t he sportsman. Found onl y in N. Amer­
i ca, t he Canvasback has been recorded el se­
where onl y once. I ts l arge si ze and very whi te
back, set of by dark areas i n front and behi nd, mark i t
at l ong range. Both sexes show t he characteri sti c l ong
neck and sl opi ng profi l e. I n fl i ght the Canvasback i s swift
and di rect, usi ng a V-formati on on mi grati on. On shorter
fl i ghts a compact fl ock i s usual . I t i s hardy and sel dom
moves southward unti l after a hard freeze. I t wi nters i n
l arge numbers i n Middl e Atl anti c bays and estuari es. I n
spri ng i t moves north wi th the frst breaks i n the i ce. Can­
vasbacks breed mai nl y i n prai ri e regi ons of central Can­
ada. Here they nest i n sl oughs and ponds among cattai l s
and rushes. Femal es i ncubate 7 to 9 eggs al one. Mal es
gather i n focks on open water duri ng t he moul t. Nearl y
80% of t he Canvasback' s food i s vegetabl e. Wi l d cel ery
(Vallisneria) is most i mportant but pondweed, foxtai l grass
and others are used. The ani mal porti on of t he di et i s pri ­
mari l y snai l s and crustaceans. The Canvasback i s sought­
after because of its fame as a tabl e bi r d. Thi s, coupl ed
wi th drai nage of areas i n its breedi ng gr ounds, has made
hunt i ng restricti ons necessary.
60 5£A 0dC85
Local names: Can, Bul l neck
Scientifc name: Aythya valisineria
Wei ghts: Average Record
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 20-24 i n.
Fl ight speeds:
l b. oz. l b. oz.
2 1 2 3 B
2 9 3 7
Chased : 72 mph
5£A DUCKS 61
RI NG-NECKED DUCK is rather unfortunate­
l y named as the ri ng i s quite i nconspi cuous.
I t mi ght better have been cal l ed the Ri ng­
bi l l ed Duck from the easi l y seen white band
on i ts dark bi l l . The mal es ar e bl ack on t he
back and show a verti cal whi te bar i n front of the wi ng.
Femal es are si mi l ar to femal e Redheads but ar e smal l er
and show t he ri ng on the bi l l . I n fi ght Ri ng- necks l ack the
fashy whi te wi ng patches of the cl osel y rel ated scaups.
They move i n smal l focks, fl yi ng fast and strai ght, ri si ng
fr om t he water more easi l y t han ot her divi ng ducks. Ri ng­
necks often mi grate wi t h scaups or i n smal l gr oups by
themsel ves.
The nest, contai ni ng 8 to 1 2 eggs, i s bui l t over water
or on the edge of a pond. One favori te si te i s a grassy
tussock in the water. The mal e does not hel p care for
the young. Ri ng- necks are pri mari l y vegetari ans. About
80% of what t hey eat consists of l eaves of pondweeds,
bul bs of water l i l i es, seeds of grasses, and other pl ant ma­
teri al . I nsects and snai l s make up most of thei r ani mal
food. They feed i n shal l ow water but di ve wel l when nec­
essary, feedi ng to a depth of 40 ft. Woodl and swamps,
ponds and streams are favored wi nter habitats. Ri ng­
necks drop i nt o decoys readi l y. However, thei r fast fi ght
and l oose fl ocks make them a di fcul t t arget for sports­
men. They are usual l y fne tabl e ducks.
62 5£A 0dCk5
Local names: Bl ackj ack, Ri ngbi l l ,
Pond Bl uebi l l
Sci enti fc name: Aythya co/loris
Wei ghts: Average Record
Mal e
femal e
Size: 1 6- 1 8 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
l b. oz. l b. oz.
1 0 2 6
1 0 2 0
No i nformati on
5£A 0dCk5 63
Greater Scaup
GREATER and LESSER SCAUPS are di fcul t
to di sti ngui sh. The Greater averages onl y \
l b. heavi er. It has a greeni sh gl oss on its head;
t he lesser has pur pl e. I n fl i ght t he Greater
shows more whi te on the wi ng. I t prefers
l arger l akes and ri vers, and wi nters on the seacoast. The
lesser prefers smal l er ponds and marshes i n bot h sum­
mer and wi nt er. The Greater breeds and wi nters to t he
north of the lesser. Bot h fl y fast and i n t i ght formati ons,
wi th the lesser more errati c and l i vel y i n i ts fi ght. Both
speci es nest on the ground near water. The 7 to 1 2 eggs
are i ncubated onl y by the femal e, whi ch i s not easi l y
fushed from the nest. Mal es gather i n open water duri ng
thei r moul t.
Both scaups take about hol f pl ant and hal f ani mal food
i n thei r di et. Seeds, roots and l eaves of aquati c pl ants are
preferred pl ant foods; mol l usks make up most of t he ani -
Lesser Scaup
mal food. Bot h ar e good di vers and can remai n l ong under
water. They decoy wel l and are i mportant game speci es.
When al armed they gi ve a l oud raucous scaup.
Dur i ng l ocal fl i ghts around the feedi ng grounds, scaups
st ay cl ose to the water, but dur i ng mi grati ons t hey fl y hi gh.
Recent studi es i ndicate t hat t he breedi ng range of t he
Greater Scaup i s more l i mi ted i n North Ameri ca t han pre­
vi ousl y s upposed. The Lesser Scau p has a wi de breedi ng
range i n Nort h Ameri ca, but i t s r ange does n ot extend i nt o
the Ol d Wor l d as does the Greater Scaup' s. Both speci es
form l arge dense focks on water i n the wi nt er, gi vi ng them
t he l ocal name of "raft ducks. "
Local names: Bl ackhead, Bl uebi l l ,
Braadbi l l
Sci enti fc names:
Greater Scaup: Aythya marila
Lesser Scaup: Aythya afni s
Wei ghts: Average
l b. oz.
Greater: Mal e 2 3
Femal e 2 0
Lesser: Mal e 1 1 3
Femal e 1 1 1
Size: Greater: 1 7-20 i n.
Lesser : 1 5- 1 8 i n.
l b. oz.
2 1 4
2 1 5
2 8
2 2
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformati on
COMMON GOLDENEYE is often cal l ed
"Whi stl er" because of the l oud, penetrati n g
sounds of its wi ngs i n fi ght. Wi del y di stri b­
uted i n North Ameri ca, it has a cl ose rel ati ve
i n Europe and Asi a. The mal e shows much
white, bot h on the water and i n fl i ght. Thi s, wi th the whi t e
face patch on the bl ack head, makes i denti fi cati on easy.
The femal e has a gray body and a ri ch brown head.
Gol deneye i s a hardy speci es, wi
teri ng as far north as
open water may be found. Many are s een i n t he Great
lakes duri ng wi nter but more prefer the seacoasts. When
mi grati ng, Gol den eyes move i n comparati vel y smal l focks
at hi gh al ti tudes.
The Gol deneye nest i s pl aced i n a tree cavity or on
top of a rotted stump near water. I n i t 8 to 1 2 eggs are
l ai d and coveted wi th a dense l ayer of down. When about
two days ol d the young j ump safel y from thi s unusual duck
nest. Ol d tal es of the femal e carryi ng out her young have
proved to be fal se. For food the Gol deneye takes about
75% ani mal matter-crustaceans, i nsects, and mol l usks.
I t i s an expert diver and i s sai d to overturn rocks under
water when searchi ng for food.
The Gol deneye is a wary bi rd and is decoyed wi th
di fcul ty. They are not consi dered good tabl e ducks but
hunters l i ke them because of thei r shyness and swift, er­
rati c fi ght. They are one of the most common ducks and
are wi del y distri buted. Gol deneyes are noi sy bi rds, espe­
ci al ly i n t he spri ng.
Local names: Whi stl er, Tree Duck,
Wood Duck, Copperhead (femal e)
Sci enti fc name: Bucepha/a c/an­
Wei ghts:
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 1 7-23 i n.
Fl ight speeds:
l b. oz.
2 3
1 1 2
l b. oz.
3 1
2 8
Crui si ng: about 50
BARROW' S GOLDENEYE has both an east­
er n and western popul ati on, the l atter i nvol v­
i ng breedi ng grounds hi gh i n the Rocky Moun­
tai ns. Here i t prefers fast mountai n streams.
Very si mi l ar to the previ ous Gol deneye, i t i s
di sti ngui shed by the head shape and, i n the mal es, by
the crescent-shaped face patch. Fema l es of t he two spe­
ci es are al most i mpossi bl e to di sti ngui sh i n the fel d. Mi ­
grati ons i nvol ve onl y a short movement south, usual l y i n
smal l fl ocks, and a shi ft to more open feedi ng grounds.
Barrow' s Gol deneye al so nests i n trees and may al so nest
as far as hal f-a- mi l e from water. I ts food is about 75%
ani mal matter, and this makes it l ess favored as a game
speci es. Al l Gol deneyes are noi sy ducks.
local names: Whi stl er, Rocky
Mountai n Gol deneye
Sci enti fc name: Bucephala is/an­
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 20-23 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
Average Record
l b. oz. l b. az.
2 7 2 1 4
1 1 0 1 1 4
No i nformati on
BUFFLEHEAD is the smal l est di vi ng duck. I ts
smal l si ze, l arge head, and wh i te head patch
i de�ti fy both sexes. Bufeheads are found i n
smal l fl ocks of young bi rds, femal es, and on e
or two ol d mal es. They fl y fast and, u nl i ke
other divi ng ducks, ri se di rectl y from t he surface. Mi gra­
ti on i s i n l ate fal l and many move onl y as far south as
forced to by the i ce. Most wi nter al ong the coast and are
among the l ast ducks to go north i
n spri ng. Bufeheads are
al so tree-nesti ng ducks, usi ng the hol es made by l arge
woodpeckers i n t rees near t he water. Ten to 1 2 eggs are
l ai d on the fl oor of the cavi ty. Bufehead di et is about
80% ani mal . These ducks come to decoys readi l y but few
are shot by hunters because they are poor eati ng.
Local names: Butterbal l , Di pper,
Spi ri t Duck
Sci enti fc name: Sucepho/o
Mol e
Femal e
l b. oz.
1 0
0 1 1
l b. oz.
1 4
1 5
Size: 1 3· 1 5 i n.
Fl i ght speeds: Crui si ng: 48 mph
 * =
OLDSQUAW is a mari t i me duck, breedi ng
on t he col d ci r cumpol ar coasts. I t i s one of
the few ducks with two compl ete annual
pl umage changes. I denti fy t he mal e by i ts
smal l si ze, chunky shape and l ong tai l . The
dark pi ed brown and wh ite head of t he femal e i s di st i nc­
t i ve. I n fi ght note t he nearl y whi te body ( both mal e and
femal e) and t he mal e' s l ong tai l . The fl i ght i s swi ft and
l ow wi t h many twi sts and t ur ns . Ol dsquaws r i s e f r om t he
water qui ckl y. They nest on t he t undra, often qui t e f ar
f r om water, l ayi ng 5 t o 7 eggs i n a down-fi l l ed nest.
Ol dsquaws are champi on di vers with a record of 1 80
feet. Thei r di et is about 90% ani mal food.
wi nter
Local name: Long-tai l ed Duck
Scientifc name: C/ang u/a
Weights: Ave rage
l b. oz.
Mal e 1 3
Femal e 7
l b. oz.
2 5
1 2
Size: Mal e, 2 1 i n. Femal e, 1 6 i n.
Fl ight speeds: No i nformati on
HARLEQUI N DUCKS are bi rds of rough,
rocky coasts and r us hi ng streams. The smal l ,
dark mal es have oddl y pl aced whi t e mark­
i ngs and reddi sh- brown si des. Note t he fe­
mal e' s chunky shape and t he t hree whi te s pots
on i ts head. Two popul at i ons of Har l equi n Ducks, At l anti c
and Paci fi c, spend most of thei r l i ves on t he ocean, mov­
i ng i nto the i nteri or to breed. Thei r fl i ght i s swi ft and
di rect, but when f ol l owi ng a stream t hey fol l ow every
twi st and t ur n. The nest i s usual l y on the gr ound, c l ose to
a rapi d stream. The femal e i ncubates 6 to 7 eggs whi l e
t he mal e ret ur ns to sea. The Har l equi n' s di et i s practi cal l y
al l ani mal food-crustaceans, mol l usks, and i nsects. They
are not good game and are sel dom shot.
Local names: Pai nted Duck, lards
and ladi es, Rock Duck
Sci enti fc name: Histrioni cus
Wei ghts: Average Record
l b. oz. l b. oz.
Mal e 8 9
Femal e 4 5
Size: 1 5- 1 7-i n.
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformati on
WHI TE-WI NGED SCOTER, a bi rd of t he
i nteri or i n summer and of t he seacoast i n
wi nter, i s t he l argest North Ameri can seater.
Both mal e and femal e are heavy bodi ed, wi th
a characteri sti c white wi ng patch. Note the
swol l en bi l l and t he mal e' s whi te eye patch.
Whi te-wi ngs are more abundant than ot her seaters but
nowhere are t hey very common dur i ng t he breedi ng sea­
son. They are si mi l ar to and cl osel y rel ated to t he Vel vet
Seater of Europe.
Whi te-wi ngs have di fcu l ty in taki ng of for fl i ght and
run al ong the surface for a di stance. Once ai rborne, thei r
fi ght i s strong and swi ft. I n mi grati on, most fol l ow the
coast, fyi ng hi gh un l ess forced down by bad weather.
Whi te-wi ngs are l ate nesters, sel dom starti ng nort h unti l
the end of J une. The nest is hol l owed out on hi gh ground,
and l i ned wi t h sti cks, l eaves and down. I n it 9 to 1 4 eggs
are l ai d. Thi s seater l i ves mai nl y on mari ne ani mal s, wi th
mol l usks maki ng up 94% of i ts di et. Mussel s, scal l ops
and oysters are crushed and di ssol ved i n t he bi rds' pow­
erf ul gi zzards.
Of the New Engl and coast "coot" hunti ng has been an
i mportant s port for many years. Bi rds are hunted at sea
from anchored dori es. Shooti ng i s popul ar despi te the
poor tabl e qual i ti es of seaters and t he rugged hunti ng
condi ti ons. They are sel dom taken i n other regi ons.
72 5£A 0dC85
Local names: Coot, Whi te-wi ng
Coot, Brant Coot
Sci enti fc name: Melonitto
Wei ghts:
Mol e
Femal e
Size: 20- 23 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
l b. oz.
3 8
2 1 3
l b. oz.
4 1
3 3
No i nformati on
SURF SCOTER is t he most wi del y di stri buted
and best known North Ameri can scoter. The
unmistakabl e l arge white head patches of the
mal e gi ve hi m the l ocal name "Skunkhead. "
The femal e has t wo obscure whi t e spots on
t he face but l acks the whi t e wi ng of t he Whi te-wi ng
Scoter. Surf Scoters are l i ghter t han t he Whi te-wi ngs and
have an easi er fi ght. But t hey, too, have di fcul ty i n
ri si ng from t he water and prefer to t ake of i nto t he
wi nd. I n fi ght they are fast and sure. Just before al i ght­
i ng and j ust after takeof, t hei r wi ngs whi stl e l oudl y. Surf
Scoters travel in l arge fl ocks wi th n o regul ar formati on.
When mi grati ng they tend to fol l ow the coast l i ne where
most wi nter, but a good many wi nter on the Great Lakes.
The nest i s wel l conceal ed, usual l y i n a marsh or bog.
Fi ve to 9 pal e, bufy eggs are l ai d and i ncubated by the
femal e. Surf Scoters, l i ke others, di ve expertl y and use
thei r wi ngs under water. Thei r name comes from t hei r
habi t of feedi ng i n t he breaki ng surf where few ot her
bi rds venture. Thei r food i s 90% ani mal , mai nl y mol ­
l usks and crustaceans. New Engl and hunters prefer t he
young of t he Surf Scoter for t hei r better tabl e qual i t i es,
al t hough t hey are sti l l far from choi ce ducks. Scoters are
not hunted much el sewhere.
Local names: Coot, Skunkhead
Coot, Bal d-headed Coot, Bay Coot
Scientifc name: Me/anilfa perspi­
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 1 8-22 i n.
Fl ight speeds:
l b. oz.
2 3
1 1 5
l b. oz.
2 8
2 8
No i nformati on
COMMON SCOTER is sel dom found away
from the coast i n both the Ol d Worl d and
t he New. The mal e i s t he onl y N. A. duck that
i s total l y bl ack. I ts onl y col or i s t he swol l en,
yel l ow base of t he bi l l . The femal e i s a dark,
dusky brown, wi th pal e gray, brown- fecked
cheeks and chi n. Common Scoters cl osel y resembl e Surf
Scoters, especi al l y femal es and young. Common Scoters
ri se from t he water wi th l ess efort t han t hei r rel ati ves.
Thei r fi ght is swi ft, wi th thei r wi ngs maki ng a l oud
whi stl e. I n mi grati on t hey usual l y fy hi gh except i n
st ormy weather. They mi grate earl i er t han other scoters
and fol l ow coast l i ne i rregul ari ti es. These rest l ess ducks
constant l y fl y about t he feedi ng grounds.
The nest, near water or on an i sl and, is wel l -conceal ed.
The femal e l ays 6 to 1 0 eggs and raises t he fami l y al one.
The young ar e adept at evadi ng capture, swi mmi ng and
di vi ng at an ear l y age. Most scoters ar e s i l ent bi rds but
thi s speci es has a mel odi ous, whi st l i ng cal l . Onl y i n New
Engl and i s i t of any i mportance for game. Ani mal mat­
ter makes up 90% of the Common Scoter' s di et. These
ducks are a probl em at ti mes in oyster and scal l op beds,
as these ar e preferred food. Mussel s, razor cl ams, mar i ne
crustaceans and some fsh are al so eaten .
. .
Local names: Coot, Bl ack Coot,
Butter- bi l l Coot
Scientifc name: Oidemia ni gra
Wei ghts: Average Record
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 1 7-2 1 i n.
l b. oz. l b. oz.
2 7 2 1 3
1 1 3 2 7
F l i ght speeds: No i nformati on
COMMON EI DER is t he source of the fa­
mous ei derdown. Most down i s now gathered
from European bi rds, as rut hl ess sl aughter has
reduced N. A. ei ders. Ei ders are i mportant t o
the Eski mo-thei r eggs for food, ski ns for
cl othi ng and bl ankets. Ei ders, our l argest ducks, frequent
Arcti c seas and are sel dom seen away from sal t water.
The mal es' stri ki ng bl ack and white patter n and t he ri ch,
barred brown of t he femal es make i denti fi cati on easy.
rhei r fi ght appears l abored and heavy, but i s actual l y
much faster t han i t seems. They fy cl ose to the water wi th
head l ow and bi l l poi nted sl i ghtl y down. On mi grati on
smal l focks fol l ow the coast. Common Ei ders usual l y nest
in l oose col oni es, al most al ways on i sl ands cl ose to sal t
water. The nest i s made of sti cks and grass and i s l i ned
and covered wi th down. After t he 3 to 6 ol ive-green eggs
are l ai d, the mal es desert the femal es and gather i n
focks of the coast. Down i s usual l y removed from the nest
twi ce i n commerci al gatheri ng. I f a bi rd cannot repl ace
t he down i t substi tutes l eaves or grass to cover t he eggs.
Because of t he val ue of down, ei ders shoul d be ri gi dl y
protected. Ei ders are not good eati ng. Thei r di et of mol ­
l usks and crustaceans makes thei r fesh st r ong and fshy.
COMMON EIDER has t hree sub­
species. Pacifc subspeci es at l eft;
northern subspeci es above; American
subspecies on p. 79.
Local names: Sea Duck, Canvas­
Sci enti fc name: Somateria mollis­
Wei ghts:
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 22-26 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
l b. oz.
4 6
4 6
l b. oz.
6 3
5 1 1
No i nformati on
5£A 0bCk5 79
STELLER' S EI DER, t he smal l est ei der, is a l i ttl e- known
duck of t he Al askan and Si beri an coasts and i s not often
found south of the Al euti ans. I t i s qui te abundant wi thi n
i ts range and occasi onal l y forms huge fl ocks wi th other
ei ders. However, i t i s more duck- l i ke and has a swifter
fi ght. The chestnut underparts, whi te head and bl ack
throat i dentify the mal e. The femal e i s smal l er, more
tri m, and has a conspi cuous bl ue wi ng specul um. The
nests are pl aced on the t undra, usual l y near water. Si x
to 1 0 eggs are l ai d and covered wi th a dark- brown
down. Unl i ke other ei ders, the mal e r emai ns near the nest
al though he takes no part in rear i ng the young. The food
of Stel l er' s Ei der i s s mal l mari ne ani mal s.
Local names: None known
Scienti fc name: Polysficta stelleri
Weights: Average Record
l b. oz. l b. oz.
Mal e 1 5 2 2
Femal e 1 5 2 0
Size: 1 8 i n.
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformati on
KI NG EI DER is found on the Arctic coasts, i ncl udi ng
northern Europe and Si beri a. Even i n wi nter i t i s an i r­
regul ar vi si tor south of Canada. The bl ack back of the
mal e and i ts l arge, yel l ow bi l l process make i t easy to
i denti fy. The femal e i s si mi l ar to other ei der femal es.
Ki ng Ei ders are quite common of the Al askan coast and
mi grate by t he thousands. The Al euti ans are a favorite
wi nteri ng area. Ki ngs di fer from the Common Ei der i n
nesti ng on t he mai n l and or on l arge i sl ands, frequentl y
near ponds or streams. Ki ngs do not form col oni es. About
5 eggs are l ai d. Sea ani mal s make up 95% of t hei r food,
and thi s renders the duck unpal atabl e. Eski mos are sai d
to rel i sh t he fatty knob at the base of the bi l l .
Local names: Cousi n, I sl e-of-Shoal s
Sci enti fc name: Somateria
Wei ghts:
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 2 1 -24 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
l b. oz.
4 0
3 1 0
l b. oz.
4 7
4 2
No i nformati on
5£A 0dCk5 8I
SPECTACLED EI DER is one of our l east-known water­
fowl . A Si beri an bird, i t breeds onl y spari ngl y i n Al aska;
I n wi nter scattered bi rds may be found i n the Al euti ans.
I ts fi ght appears rather cl umsy, l i ke that of other l arge
ei ders. The mal e l ooks l i ke the Common Ei der but shows
the l arge white eye patch that gi ves it i ts name. The fe­
mal e is si mi l ar to other ei ders but may show a l i ght brown
eye patch.
The nest i s usual l y i n a grass tussock or on a knol l near
a pond. I t i s a hol e i n the tundra, l i ned wi t h down and
contai ni ng from 5 to 9 eggs. The mal e l eaves the femal e
soon after t he eggs ar e l ai d. Thi s ei der takes mor e vege­
tabl e food than i ts rel ati ves: 75% of i ts di et i s ani mal .
Local names: None known
Sci enti fc name: Lampronetta
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 20·22. 5 i n.
l b. oz.
3 1 0
3 1 0
lb. oz.
3 1 2
3 1 4
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformoti on
MERGANSERS or "Fi sh Ducks" are a Northern Hemi ­
sphere group of ni ne ducks, three of whi ch occur i n North
Ameri ca. Most are l arge, but sl i m and streaml i ned for
underwater movement. Thei r bi l l s are l ong, round in
cross secti on, and have "teeth" for catchi ng and hol di ng
fsh. Mergansers are someti mes charged wi th depl eti ng
trout and sal mon streams. Normal l y the merganser does
not threaten fsh popul ati ons.
`¨ ` `

COMMON MERGANSER is our l argest merganser.
Note i ts si ze, dark uncrested head, white chest and si des.
The femal e has a reddi sh- brown head and wel l - devel ­
oped crest. Thi s merganser runs al ong t he surface before
taki ng of. I ts fight is fast, usual l y l ow over the water,
except duri ng mi grati ons when i t fi es hi gh. The Common
Merganser prefers fresh water and is an earl y spri ng mi ­
grant. I t usual l y nests i n a tree cavity or hol e i n a cl i f.
Local names: Goosander, Big Saw­
bi l l , Fish Duck, American Mergan­
Scientifc name: Mergus merganser
Weights: Average Record
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 22-27 i n.
l b. oz. l b. oz.
3 8 4 2
2 1 2 3 14
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformation
femal e
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER i s si mi l ar but smal l er.
Both mal e and femal e show a ragged crest. The mal e has
a brown chest band. The femal e Common and Red­
br easted are much al i ke. I n the Common the brown head
i s sharpl y di vi ded from the white chest. I n the Red­
breasted the col ors r un together. The Red-breasted pre­
fers sal t water and i s found farther south in wi nter. The
nest i s al ways on t he ground. The femal e usual l y l ays 8
to 1 0 eggs whi ch she i ncubates 26 to 28 days. The mal e
hel ps car e f or t he young.
84 M£kCAN5£k5
Local names: Hai ry-head, Sal t­
water Shel l drake, fi sh Duck
Sci enti fc name: Mergus serrator
Weights: Average Record
Mal e
femal e
Si ze: 20-25 i n.
l b. oz. lb. oz.
2 1 0 2 1 4
2 0 2 1 3
Fl i ght speeds: N o i nformati on
mal e
HOODED MERGANSER is the smal l est and most attrac­
tive merganser. I t prefers wooded swamps and i s rarel y
seen near sal t water. Both mal e and femal e show a l arge
crest. Both sexes show whi t e wi ng patches i n fl i ght. The
femal e i s di ngy gray-brown. These mergansers r i se easi l y
i n fi ght and do not run al ong the water. The nest i s al ways
i n a tree cavity. I t contai ns 1 0 to 1 2 eggs. After the young
hatch, t hey j ump to the ground or water. Hooded Mer­
gansers dive wel l (as do the others) and feed on smal l fsh,
tadpol es and crustaceans.
Local names: Swamp Sawbi l l ,

zzyhead, Sawbi l l
Sci enti fc name: Lophodytes
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 1 6- 1 9 i n.
l b. oz.
1 8
1 4
lb. oz.
1 1 5
1 8
Fl i ght speech: No i nformati on
M£kCAN5£k5 85
key foetor in mai ntai ni ng the popu­
l ati on of ducks and geese. Artifci al
ng gro of occasi onal hel p duri ng on emer-
gency. For more i mportant i s the preservation of normal
envi ronments where natural pl ant foods thrive and where
mi grati ng or wi nteri ng bi rds con hove protecti on. Restora­
ti on of marsh l ands, unwi sel y drai ned for agri cul ture, con
al so hel p. Steps t hat control water pol l uti on, si l ti ng and
foodi ng al so hel p support waterfowl pl ant foods. Some
waterfowl gl ean waste groi n and someti mes damage groi n
crops. Di vi ng ducks toke more ani mal food. Maj or pl ants
used by waterfowl ore i l l ustrated on pages 87 and 88
Other foods ore l i sted bel ow.
Plant Foods
Algae (sev. sp.)
Saw gross
Waterprl mraa
Button bush
Anl•al Foods
Snails, dams
Cric ..
Ants, wasps
Aquatic i nsect larvae
Ki l l ifsh
CORDGRASS {Spartina) i s the
main marsh grass of Atl antic and
Gul f coasts. Makes sal t-hay. Seeds
and root stocks eaten.
WIDGEON GRASS, Ditch, or Sea
Grass (Ruppia), i s a common pond­
weed of bracki sh coastal waters.
Enti re pl ant i s eaten.
ARROWHEAD or Duck Potato
(Sagittaria) i s abundant in swamps
and al ong ri ver banks. Waterfowl
eat tubers and smal l fat seeds.
SMARTWEED or Knotweed (Poly­
gonum) i s found in upl ands as
wel l as i n marshes. Seeds are
eaten. I t i s a form of Buckwheat.
MUSKGRASS (Chara) i s a l i me·
coated al gae wi despread in fresh
and brackish waters. Ducks rel i sh
the enti re pl ant.
PONDWEED (Potamogeton) i s an
i mportant seed-beari ng aquati c
pl ant of fresh or sl i ghtl y sal i ne
waters. Al l parts are eaten.
WA1£k|OW| |OO0 P|AN15 87
WI LD RICE (Zizonio) is o tal l ,
pl umed gr as s of marshes and
streams. Provides excel l ent shel ­
ter. Seeds ore eaten.
1 . BULRUSH (Scirpus) i s a common
sedge of ponds, streams and
bracki sh marshes. Vari es greatl y i n
• appearance. Seeds andstems eaten.
2. SPI KERUSH (Eieocharis) i s a si n­
gl e spi ked, nearl y l eafl ess, fresh­
water sedge. Seeds and tubers
are eaten.
3. WI LD CELERY or Eel grass (Vol­
lisneria). Wi despread in N. E.
ponds and streams. A val uabl e
food; enti re pl ant i s eaten.
WI LD MI LLET (Echinochloo} i s a
coarse, dense-headed g rass whi ch
provides shel ter as wel l as l arge
edi bl e seeds.
88 WA1£k|OWl |OO0 P|AN15
Rai l s ar e oft en cal l ed marsh hens. They ar e chunky, chick­
en- l i ke bi rds wi th short tai l s and l ong, strong l egs. Of
some 1 29 speci es, onl y 1 0 occur i n North Ameri ca and,
of t hese, seven are consi dered gamebi rds.
Nort h Ameri can rai l s ar e di vi ded i nto two groups. The
fi rst are sel dom-seen bi rds of dense marshes. They do not
swi m wel l and fl y poor l y wi th t hei r l ong l egs dangl i ng
j ust over t he marsh grasses. Yet t hi s gr oup may mi grate
over great di stances, some wi nteri ng i n Mexi co, Central
and South Ameri ca.
The secon d i ncl udes the coots · and gal l i nul es, whi ch ar e
mor e often seen swi mmi ng i n open water. Some are mi s­
taken for ducks, but a second l ook reveal s a short, thi ck,
bri ghtl y col ored bi l l . Al t hough coots and gal l i nul es are
better fi ers t han other rai l s, t hey l ack grace and power
i n the ai r. They often prefer to spatter al ong, usi ng wi ngs
and f eet i nstead of taki ng of compl etel y. Al l rai l s have
l oud voi ces and can be hear d gr unt i ng and cackl i ng i n
t he marshes. They are di fcul t t o see as t hey r emai n hi dden
i n t he grass and ot her vegetati on.
short-bi l l ed rai l s
kA| |5 89
KI NG RAI L is one of the l argest, with a reddi sh breast,
brown back and long sl ender bi l l . A bird of fresh-water
swamps, it i s sel dom seen except duri ng migrati on. I ts
fi ght i s weak and futteri ng, but duri ng mi grati ons it fi es
more di rectl y with feet tucked up, usual l y at ni ght. How­
ever, thi s rai l i s a resi dent over much of its range. Its nest,
wel l -conceal ed i n a cl ump of vegetati on, i s often arched
over wi th twi gs or l eaves. I n it 8 to 1 1 pal e buf eggs,
marked wi th brown, are l ai d. These hatch i nto jet- bl ack
chi cks whi ch fol l ow thei r mother unti l they are fedged.
Ki ng rai l s feed mai nl y on seeds and pl ants but take i n­
sects, frogs and crawfsh i n summer. Thei r cal l i s a seri es
of l ong, rapi d "chucks. "
º0 kA| |5
Local names: Marsh Hen, Red­
breasted Rail, Fresh-water Marsh
Scientifc name: Ral/us elegans
Weights: Average Record
lb. oz. lb. oz.
Mal e 0 1 1 0 1 2
Femal e No i nformati on, probobly
sl i ghtl y l i ghter
Size: 1 5- 1 9 i n.
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformati on
VI RGI NI A RAI L is a smal l er versi on of the Ki ng Rai l
wi th a si mi l ar l ong bi l l and reddi sh-brown underparts.
These, too, stay deep i n fresh-water marshes and are
weak fi ers, rarel y movi ng more than 5 to I0 yards when
fushed. They prefer to escape danger by r unni ng rapi dl y
through the mars h grass. Duri ng mi grati ons Vi rgi ni a Rai l s
fy at ni ght and manage t o cover l ong di stances. The nest,
bui l t in a cl ump of marsh grass, contai ns 7 to I 2 eggs
whi ch requi re about I 5 days to hatch. The day they
hatch, the downy, bl ack young can run, swi m and dive.
Vi rgi ni a Rai l s feed mostl y on snai l s, i nsects, worms and
smal l fsh. The cal l i s a r api d seri es of sharp notes-tic-it,
tic-it-heard at dawn and dusk.
Local names: Marsh Hen
Scientifc name: Ro/lus limicolo
Wei ghts: Average Record
Mol e
Femal e
Size: 9-1 0 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
l b. oz. l b. oz.
0 3. 8 0 4. 3
0 2. 9 0 3. 3
No i nformation
kA||5 ºI
CLAPPER RAI L is a bi rd of sal t marshes and was for­
merly quite common in thi s habi tat. I t resembl es the Ki ng
Rai l i n si ze and shape, but is gray i nstead of a ri ch
brown. li ke other rai l s, it i s most often seen skul ki ng
through the grasses or wal ki ng wari l y al ong the mud
bank of some ti dal creek, jerki ng head and tai l wi th each
step. I ts narrow, somewhat fattened body ai ds i t i n
s l i ppi ng through the vegetati on. Good swi mmers but weak
fi ers, they often cross wi de ti dal channel s.
Nests are usual l y pl aced on a hi gh spot i n the marsh
or may be woven i nto the stal ks and l eaves some di stance
above the mud and water. Hi gh spri ng ti des endanger
the nests and many are destroyed by foodi ng. Si x to 1 4
eggs are l ai d whi ch both parents are thought to i ncubate.
I n about 1 4 days the young hatch-smal l bal l s of j et­
bl ack down.
YELLOW RAIL i s onl y sl i ghtl y
l arger than the Bl ack (6-7 i n. ) but
l ives i n sal t- and fresh-water
marshes. Has a white wing patch
i n fi ght. Sci. name: Coturnicops
º2 kA| |5
BLACK RAIL is a smal l (5-6 i n. )
sl ate-bl ack bi rd marked by white
spots on its back and fai nt bars
on the abdomen. An uncommon
bi rd of fresh and sal t marshes.
Sci . name: lateral/us ;amaicensis.
Cl appers cal l often in the marsh and a l oud noi se wi l l
often set of a resoundi ng chorus. Thei r voi ce i s a harsh
cak-cak-cak repeated i n a descendi ng tone. Cl appers
feed mai nl y on fddl ers and other smal l crabs, shri mp,
mussel s, other smal l mol l usks and smal l fsh. Al l ar e
eaten avi dl y. No pl ant food i s taken. Cl appers ar e often
hunted from boats pol ed through the marsh at hi gh ti de.
Local names: Marsh Hen, Sal t·
water Marsh Hen
Scientifc name: Ra/lus longirostris
Wei ghts: Average Record
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 1 4- 1 6 i n.
l b. oz. l b. oz.
0 1 2 1 0
0 1 1 0 1 2
Fl ight speeds: N o i nformati on
kA||5 º3
SORA RAI L is the most abundant and wi despread N. A.
rai l , but i t is smal l and often i gnored. Note the browni sh
back, gray underparts, and the bl ack face patch. Soras
fy better than other rai l s and may cover 3,000 mi l es dur­
i ng mi grati on. Soras nest in fresh-water marshes, l ayi ng
10 to 12 eggs i n a wel l -woven nest. Mal e and femal e.
i ncubate the eggs, whi ch hatch i n about 1 4 days. The
bl ack, downy young have a tuft of stif, yel l ow chi n feath­
ers. I n s ummer, Soras feed on i nsects, crustaceans and
smal l shel l fsh. I n wi nter, t hey take seeds or aquati c pl ants.
Thei r cal l is a cl ear, rapi d, descendi ng "whi n ny," repeated
over and over agai n. Despi te thei r smal l si ze, the Sora
94 kA| |5
Rai l i s an i mportant game s peci es
i n the Mi ddl e Atl anti c states.
Local names: Carol i na Rai l , Rai l -
bi rd, Ortol an
Scientifc name: Porzona carolina
Weights: Average Record
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 8- 1 0 i n.
Flight speeds:
l b. oz. l b. oz.
0 2 0 3
0 2 0 2. 8
No i nformati on
GALLI NULES are margi nal gamebi rds, not often sought
by hunters, t hough they are good eati ng. The Common
Gal l i nul e, t he most abundant of t he two speci es, i s a
duck- l i ke bi rd wi th a bri ght red bi l l . A patch of whi te
under the tai l and a whi te stri pe on the si de hel p i denti ­
fcati on. I t prefers open, fresh-water marshes where i t
swi ms and dives wel l . The bri ghtl y col ored Pur pl e Gal ­
l i nul e i s a southern bi rd of l arger marshes and deeper
water. I ts l ong toes support i t on l i l y pads and foati ng
vegetati on. Both gal l i nul es nest i n the marsh grass, l ayi ng
1 0 to 1 2 eggs. Gal l i nul es eat marsh pl ants-mai nl y seeds
but some roots and l eaves-and a few s mal l ani mal s .
Local names: Pond Chi cken, Bl ue
Scientifc names:
Purpl e: Porphyrula martinica
Common: Gallinula chloropus
Wei ghts: Average Record
Common Gal l i nul e
l b. oz. l b. oz.
Mal e 1 0 1 0
Femol e 0 1 1 0 1 2
Purpl e Gal l i nul e about 3 oz. l i ghter.
Size: 1 2· 1 4 i n. (both)
Fl ight speeds: No i nformati on
kA||5 95
COOTS are known to mi l l i ons as Mud Hens. Hardl y a
body of fresh water in North Ameri ca is wi thout coots at
l east some ti me duri ng the year. Coots are easi l y i den­
tifed by thei r chunky sl ate-gray bodi es, bl ack heads and
white bi l l s. They are the most aquati c members of thei r
fami l y and have devel oped faps or l obes on thei r toes
to ai d i n swi mmi ng. Thi s they do wel l , and dive expertl y,
too. They are not strong fi ers and, when taki ng of from
the water, they patter al ong for a consi derabl e di stance.
Once i n fi ght, the whi te trai l i ng edge of the i nner wi ng
is a conspi cuous fel d mark. Coots are hardy and remai n
in northern marshes unti l forced out by i ce. I n spri ng they
return earl y, arri vi ng soon after the frst bi g thaw.
Coots eat al most anythi {g. They prefer vegetabl e
foods-seeds, l eaves and roots of aquati c pl ants. They
al so graze on nearby l and and may destroy young crops.
Ani mal foods i ncl ude i nsects, snai l s, tadpol es, worms and
smal l fshes. Thei r voi ce i s l oud and vari ed. Coots make a
vari ety of grunts, squawks, cackl i ng and cl ucki ng sounds.
Sound tracks of thi s unusual array of cal l s from one bi rd
are dubbed i nto fl ms and tapes to provi de "j ungl e back­
ground" for movi es and tel evi si on.
ºó kA||5
Coots make thei r nests i n dense stands of cattai l or
bul rushes. The nest is occasi onal l y exposed; someti mes i t
foats, anchored to nearby vegetati on. Both mal e and fe­
mal e i ncubate 8 to I 2 eggs for about 3 weeks. The downy
young swi m and di ve wi th thei r parents.
Local names: Mud Hen, Crowbi l l ,
Bl ue Peter
Scientifc name:
Fulica americana
Wei ghts: Average
Mal e
Femal e
l b. oz.
1 4
l b. oz.
1 1 0
1 5
Si ze: 1 3- 1 6 i n.
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformation
kA| |5 97
Shorebi rds are found i n wet pl aces throughout the worl d.
There are about 50North Ameri can speci es i ncl udi ng pl o­
vers, turnstones, woodcock, sni pe and sandpi pers. Onl y
two speci es are consi dered gamebi rds. Most shorebi rds
are mi gratory, breedi ng north to the Arctic and wi nteri ng
i n t he far Sout h. Duri ng much of the year shorebi rds are
found i n . l arge focks whi ch i ncl ude several speci es. The
aeri al gyrati ons of these focks are an avi an wonder.
As a group, s horebi rds have l ong, poi nted wi ngs, short
tai l s and l ong l egs. They prefer wet l ocati ons, though
some have become adapted to dri er condi ti ons. Al l wal k
or· r un rapi dl y; many swi m wel l . Four l arge, sharpl y
poi nted eggs are l ai d. The protecti vel y col ored young
run about s hortl y after hatchi ng. I nvertebrates ( i nsects,
mol l usks and worms) and smal l fsh are pri nci pal foods.
COMMON SNI PE, widel y di stri buted i n North Ameri ca,
i s i denti fed by i ts bol dl y stri ped head and l ong bi l l . Sni pe
prefer wet meadows, marshes and bogs where thei r
brown stri ped backs make them difcul t to see. When
fushed, sni pe fy l ow and erratical l y, givi ng a harsh
scaipe. Mi grati ng, they fy hi gh, usual l y at ni ght. Most
are found in the southern states duri ng the wi nter.
98 5HOk£8| k05
The courtshi p of the sni pe i ncl udes a fi ght "song"
probabl y produced by vi brati ng the outer tai l feathers.
Four brown, bl otched eggs are l ai d i n a grass- l i ned de­
pressi on. Both sexes i ncubate for about 1 8 to 20 days.
Sni pe probe i n mud and soft earth wi th t hei r l ong bi l l s.
I nsects make up about hal f of thei r di et, wi th worms,
crustaceans and snai l s al so i mportant. Sni pe were once
abundant. Overshooti ng · has depl eted the speci es, but
recent protecti on has al l owed a recovery.
Local names: Jack Sni pe, Engl i sh
Sni pe
Scientifc name: Capella galli nago
Weights: Average Record
l b. oz. l b. az.
Mal e 0 4. 2 0 5. 5
Femal e 0 4. 2 0 5. 5
Size: 1 0· 1 1 i n.
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformation
5HOk£8| k05 99
AMERICAN WOODCOCK is quite common, but rarel y
seen, t hroughout much of eastern North Ameri ca. They
rel y on thei r excel l ent protective col orati on and wi l l not
fush unti l al most stepped on. Thei r l ong bi l l s, chunky
bodi es, short necks and tai l s are di sti ncti ve. Un l i ke most
s horebi rds, thei r wi ngs are rounded. Wooded swamps,
al der t hi ckets and moi st, l eafy bottom l ands are preferred
habitats. The posi ti on of the woodcock' s eyes i s qui te un­
usual -they are set far back and hi gh on the head. This
enabl es the bi rd to see i n a compl ete ci rcl e wi thout mov­
ing its head. Mi grati on, governed by the freezi ng and
t hawi ng of the ground, i s l at e i n fal l and earl y i n spri ng.
When mi grati ng, woodcocks fy l ow and at ni ght.
The unusual courtshi p of the woodcock takes pl ace i n
l ate eveni ng and earl y morni ng when l i ght i s very di m.
The mal e fnds an open grassy spot and al ternates hi s
strutti ng about wi th a s pectacul ar spi ral fi ght. Duri ng thi s
fi ght a soft twitteri ng i s made, perhaps by the modi fed
wi ng feathers. No pai ri ng of takes pl ace and one mal e
may mat e wi th several femal es. The nest, contai ni ng four
eggs, i s a s l i ght hol l ow i n the ground. The femal e al one
i ncubates for about 21 days. Woodcok fy i n two weeks
and are f ul l y grown i n 25 days. Earthworms are its maj or
food and a bi rd may consume its own wei ght dai l y.
Detai l of wi ng showi ng modi fed pri maries
1 00 5k k 5
Local names: Ti mber
Wood Sni pe, Bog Sucker
Scientifc name: Philohela
Wei ghts: Average
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 1 0- 1 2 i n.
Flight speeds:
l b. oz.
0 6. 2
0 7. 7
13 mph
Doodl e,
l b. oz.
0 7. 8
0 9. 8
5HOk£8| k05 I 0 I
Gol den Pl over
1 02 5HOk£8| k05
CURLEWS are l arge, attractive
sandpi pers, once ki l l ed i n great
numbers. Al l are tal l bi rds wi th l ong
down-curved bi l l s. The Eski mo Cur­
l ew (Numenius borealis, 1 2- 1 4 i n. )
may now be exti nct. The long-bi l l ed
Cur l ew (Numenius americanus, 20-
26 i n. ) i s the l argest cur l ew; a bi rd
of the prai ri e states, it is sl owl y re­
coveri ng i n numbers. The smal l er
Whi mbr el , or Hudsoni an Cur l ew
us, 1 5- 1 8 i n. )
breeds i n the Arcti c and mi grates
al ong the coasts. I t i s sti l l the com­
monest curl ew.
breeds i n t he Arcti c, then sets a non­
st op mi gratory record over water.
Those from the eastern Arctic around
Bafn I s. go to southern South Amer­
i ca. Those from the western Arcti c
and Si beri a go to central Paci fc i s­
l ands. Breedi ng pl umage i s bl ack,
fecked wi th yel l ow. I n wi nter the
bi rds are browni sh and i nconspi cu­
ous. Once abundant, these bi rds
were al most wi ped out by market
hunters. Now they are hol di ng thei r
own. Si ze: 1 0- 1 1 i n. ; sci enti fc name:
Pluvialis dominica.
GODWITS ore l arge shorebi rds
wi th s l i ghtl y upturned bi l l s. The
Marbl ed Godwi t (Limosa fedoa, 1 6-
20 i n. ) is the l argest i n N. A. These
ci nnamon bi rds, wi th l ong, pi nk­
based bi l l s, breed on grassy prai ri es
but mi grate to the coasts. They feed
on l ake s hores i n fal l and beaches
i n wi nter. The smal l er Hudsoni an
Godwi t (Limosa haemastica, 1 4- 1 6
i n. ) fol l ows t he l ong mi grati on route
of the Gol den Pl over ( p. 1 02). Both
speci es were t hreatened because of
overshooti ng. Now thei r numbers are
i ncreasi ng.
UPLAND PLOVER, a sl i m, graceful
bi r d wi t h a short, thi n beak, i s not a
true pl over but bel ongs to the sand­
pi per fami l y. These prai ri e bi rds
spread eastward as forests were
cl eared, becomi ng common in fel ds
and pastures. Market hunti ng i n the
1 880' s and ' 90' s al most wi ped them
out. Thi s nondescri pt browni sh bi rd
often perches on fence posts, hol d­
i ng wi ngs u p for a moment after
al ighti ng. Fl i ght swift and buoyant,
with down-curved wi ngs. Si ze: 1 1 - 1 3
i n. ; sci enti fc name: Bartramia longi­
5HOk£8| k05 1 03
Nostri l s open through a
cere - an overgrowth at
t he base of the upper bi l l .
Foot adapted for wal ki ng.
Some 289 speci es of doves and pi geons have been de­
scri bed by orni thol ogists, but on l y ni ne were regul arl y
found i n North Ameri ca. One of these, the Passenger
Pi geon ( p. 1 7) has been ext i nct si nce 1 9 1 4. There i s no
real di ference between pi geons and doves, al t hough the
l arger speci es are cal l ed pi geons. Most have the general
form of the Common Pi geon or Rock Dove-chunky, wi t h
a smal l head and sl i m bi l l . Most feed on t he ground.
Heavy breast muscl es and poi nted wi ngs provi de power
for strong, rapi d fi ght.
Pi geons and doves bui l d a fragi l e nest where one or
two whi te eggs are l ai d. These are i ncubated by both
sexes for about 1 4 to 1 9 days. The young are ready to
l eave the n est in 1 2 to 1 8 days. Duri ng the frst week the
young bi rds are fed a secreti on of the adul ts' crops cal l ed
"pi geon mi l k. " The food of pi geons and doves i s al most
al l seeds, fruits and berri es. They are quite dependent
upon a suppl y of water. Unl i ke most other bi rds, t hey
dri nk by sucki ng up water. Onl y three of t he Nort h Amer­
i can speci es are i mportant gamebi rds and of these three
the Mourni ng Dove is outstandi ng.
� I 04 P| C£ON5 AN0 0OV£5
Local names: Turtl e Dove, long­
tai l ed Dove, Wi l d Dove
Sci enti fc name: Zenaidura
Wei ghts:
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 1 1 - 1 3 i n.
l b. oz.
0 4. 5
0 4. 4
Fl i ght speeds: 40 mph
lb. oz.
0 6. 0
0 5. 5
Mour ni ng Dove i n the East
P| C£ON5 AN0 0OV£5 I 05
In the Southwest
ern Canadi an provi nces to Mexi co. Thei r
smal l heads, sl i m, streaml i ned bodi es and
l ong, poi nted tai l s are di sti ncti ve. Mourni ng
Doves are probabl y as abundant today as
t hey have ever been. They have benefted by the cl ear­
i ng of forests and the openi ng of new l and.
The food of Mourni ng Doves i s al most enti rel y weed
seeds and waste grai n. They prefer smal l seeds but corn,
peanuts and soybeans are taken. li ke other doves, they
are dependent on water and dri nk at l east once a day.
Mourni ng Doves are equal l y at home i n the humi d East
or the ari d porti ons of the West wherever food and water
can be found. They are hi ghl y mi gratory, wi nteri ng i n
t he southern states and i n Mexi co. They mi grate s l owl y,
AGE of juveni l e bi rds (wi ng co­
verts ore l i ght ti pped) con be tol d
by the pri mary feather l ast moult­
ed. The frst one is the i nnermost.
Primary Days Primary Days
First 40-45 Si xth 9 1 -98
Second 46-56 Seventh 99-1 1 5
Thi rd 57-68 Ei
hth 1 1 6- 1 30
Fourth 69-78 Ni nth 1 3 1 - 1 50
Fi fth 79-90 Tenth Over 1 50
1 06 P| C£ON5 AN0 0OV£5
perhaps 1 5 mi l es in 24 hours, usual l y fyi ng i n the morn­
i ng and eveni ng, and feedi ng duri ng the day.
Duri ng the l ong breedi ng season a si ngl e pai r may
nest si x ti mes. The fi msy nest i s usual l y i n a tree or shr ub
but may be on the ground. Many nest i n towns and on
farms. Far m s hel ter bel ts are favored si tes. The two white
eggs are i ncubated by both sexes for about 1 4 or 1 5
days. The young squabs are naked when hatched, but
grow rapi dl y and l eave t he nest i n about two weeks. A
compl ete nesti ng cycl e from courtshi p to fedgi ng takes
about one mont h.
The voi ce of the Mourni ng Dove i s a soft, fve-syl l abl ed
coo. Mourni ng Doves are very i mportant gamebi rds.
About 20,000,000 are ki l l ed annual l y, more t han al l
waterfowl combi ned.
over 1 50 doys
P| C£ON5 AN0 0OV£5 1 07
WHITE-WI NGED DOVES wi th thei r square
tai l s and white wi ng patches are unmistak­
abl e. They are l arger and stocki er than
Mourni ng Doves. White-wi ngs are found i n
the Southwest and throughout Mexi co where
they are very abundant in some areas. They l eave the
United States i n wi nter, returni ng i n Apri l . More gregari ­
ous than Mourni ng Doves, they move i n focks even duri ng
the breedi ng season. Nesti ng takes pl ace i n col oni es, usu­
al l y i n smal l dense trees l i ke mesqui te or hackberry or
even some of the l arger cacti . The l oose nest of sti cks or
straw i s pl aced at a j uncti on of l i mbs from 6 to 20 ft.
above the ground. Two bufy-whi te eggs are l ai d; one
often fai l s to hatch. The femal es i ncubate most of the
1 5 to 1 7 days. Probabl y two broods are rai sed i n each
good year and onl y one i n dry seasons. Water i s essenti al
t o Whi te-wi ngs. Droughts al ways cause seri ous popul ati on
decl i nes.
Mal es have a soft persi stent coo whi ch i s often wri tten
as "Who cooks for you?" wi th accent on the l ast word.
Duri ng spri ng and summer the bi rds are noi sy, especial l y
morni ngs and eveni ngs. Thei r notes are not l oud but
carry l ong di stances. Seeds are a maj or food but fl eshy
frui ts, such as cactus, are o. ften i mportant.
feedi ng young
Local names: Whi te-wi ngs; Sonora
Pi geon
Scientifc name:
Wei ghts:
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 1 1 - 1 2 i n.
Fl ight speeds:
Zenaida asiatica
Average Record
l b. oz. l b. oz.
0 5. 8 0 7. 3
0 5. 5 0 6. 7
No i nformati on
P| C£ON5 AN0 0OV£5 1 09
BAND-TAI LED PI GEON is a bi rd of west­
ern mountai ns and foothi l l s, preferri ng an
area where there ar e both oaks and conifers.
They l ike rugged country, wi th steep sl opes
and canyons. Thei r fi ght i s strong and di rect.
At times they i ndul ge i n spectacul ar di ves al ong the
rocky sl opes. The compact body, rounded tai l and white
crescent on the back of the neck are determi ni ng fel d
marks. These bi rds resembl e the Rock Dove or Common
Pi geon of city streets, but they are bi rds of tal l trees,
rarel y seen on the ground. They mi grate from the north­
ern part of thei r range i n l ei surel y fashi on i n l ate fal l .
Duri ng wi nter focks wander wi del y i n search of food.
Band-tai l s nest si ngl y but may al so be found i n l oose col ­
oni es. The nest is usual l y pl aced on a tree l i mb but is
occasi onal l y on the ground. A si ngl e whi te egg i s usual l y
l ai d but someti mes there ar e two. Both sexes i ncubate and
brood t he young. I ncubati on takes about 1 8 days and i t
is al most a month before the young pi geons l eave the
nest. Duri ng t he breedi ng season mal es give a l oud owl ­
l i ke hoot or coo, usual l y of two notes. The summer food
consi sts of berries and frui ts; the wi nter, of acorns and
pi ne seeds. Restricted hunti ng seasons now protect Band­
tai l s from overshooti ng.
I I 0 PI G£ON5 AN0 0OV£5
Local names: Bl ue Pi geon, Whi te-
col l ared Pi geon, Bl ue Rock
Scientifc name: Co/umbo fasciata
Weights: Average Record
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 1 5.5 i n.
Fl ight speeds:
l b. oz. l b. oz.
0 1 3. 1 0 1 5.5
0 1 2. 8 0 1 4. 0
No i nformation
P| C£ON5 AN0 0OV£5
GROUND DOVE (6-7 i n. ) is hardly l arger than a spar­
row, wi th a short, sturdy tai l . They are often seen on the
ground noddi ng thei r heads as they wal k. Found i n pi ne
woods, orchards or al ong di rt roads i n the coastal pl ai ns
fr om the Carol i nas to Texas, they are qui te tame and
often come to gardens and bi rd feeders. When fushed,
they fy l ow and sel dom go far before droppi ng back to
the ground. The si mpl e nest i s usual l y in a l ow bush or on
the ground. Two white eggs are i ncubated for about 1 2 to
1 4 days. Smal l seeds are the most i mportant food. Sci .
name: Columbigallina
I NCA DOVE, (8 i n. ) a bi rd of the ari d Southwest, has
feathers wi th dark edgi ngs, maki ng the dove appear
scal ed. Thi s and the l ong, whi te-edged tai l ore fel d marks.
These smal l doves con be seen on the ground i n parks and
gardens i n towns. I n spr i ng and summer they occur si ngl y
or in pai rs but i n wi nter they form s mal l focks. The nest,
i n a bush or tree, often near houses, i s mode of fne twi gs.
Two whi te eggs ore i ncubated for about two weeks. The
I nca Dove has a monotonous doubl e- noted cooi ng cal l .
Sci . nome: Scardafel/a inca.
WHITE-FRONTED DOVE is a I orge ( 1 2 i n. ) dark­
backed, l i ght-bel l i ed bi rd found from Mexico southward.
I n the United States it is onl y seen i n the Lower Ri o
Grande Vol l ey of Texas. Thi s bi rd of dense brushl ands
spends most of its ti me on the ground, but con fy rapi dl y
through thi ck growth. I t never forms focks. The nest, wi th
2 eggs, i s pl aced i n a l ow thicket, tangl e of vi nes, or on
the ground. Whi te-fronts feed al ong trai l s or roods but
sel dom i n the open. Seeds and frui ts ore thei r stapl e di et.
Thei r cal l i s a soft three- noted coo. Sci . nome: Le
I I 2 P| C£ON5 AN0 0OV£5
P| C£ON5 AN0 0OV£5 I I 3
WHITE-CROWNED PI GEON, a West I ndi an speci es,
occurs on the southern ti p of Fl ori da and the Fl ori da Keys.
The whi te crown contrasts sharpl y wi th its s l aty pl umage.
The fl i ght of t hese l arge pi geons ¦ ! 4 i n. ) i s hi gh and di rect.
Whi te-crowns breed on mangrove i sl ands. The nest i s wel l
made for a pi geon, l i ned wi th grass, an d contai ns two
white eggs. Fruits of many trees are eaten. In the Bahamas
and West I ndi es thi s bi rd i s an i mportant game speci es.
Sci . name: Columba leucoce
RED-BI LLED PI GEON i s a l arge ¦ ! 3 i n. ) dark pi geon
of Mexi co, Central Ameri ca and south Texas. The tai l i s
broad and rounded, the bi l l smal l . The nest i s a pl atorm
of sti cks pl aced i n heavy brush or vi nes. A si ngl e, g l ossy
white egg is usual . Frui ts are eaten in summer; seeds and
waste gr ai ns i n wi nter. Cl eari ng of brush l ands may el i mi ­
nate t hi s pi geon from U. S. Sci . name: Columba favirostris.
! I 4 PI C£ON5 AN0
The Gal l i naceous or Upl and Gamebi rds are probabl y the
most i mportant order of bi rds to man. The common chicken
i s a promi nent member of the group, whi ch i ncl udes
pheasants, turkeys, quai l , and grouse. Of 240 speci es,
some I 8 are native to North Ameri ca and were ori gi nal l y
found in al most al l habi tats. Three more speci es have
been successful l y i ntroduced.
I n si ze these chi cken- l i ke bi rds vary from six-ounce quai l
t o 20-pound turkeys. Al l , however, have pl ump bodi es,
l arge, wel l - devel oped breast muscl es, and short, t hi ck
bi l l s. Thei r feet are strong and adapted for wal ki ng. They
scratch for a l ivi ng and if not pressed too cl osel y, prefer
to wal k or run rather than fy, though they are capabl e
of strong, r api d fi ght for short di stances. The wi ngs of
most speci es whi rr l oudl y on take-of.
Some gal l i naceous bi rds have adapted to changi ng
conditi ons and are hol di ng t hei r own or i ncreasi ng.
Others, however, need mor e speci al ized habi tats and
have decl i ned shar pl y. One, t he Heath Hen, a form of
Prai ri e Chi cken, has become exti nct.
P| C£ON5 AN0 0OV£5 I I 5
North Ameri can gal l i naceous bi rds ore grouped i nto
three fami l i es. The fi rst of these three fami l i es contai ns the
grouse. The second fami l y, mode up of three subfami l ies,
encompasses the quai l , partri dges and pheasants. Fi nal l y,
the turkeys form a fami l y of thei r own.
GROUSE ( pp. I I 8- I 3 ! ) or e North­
ern Hemi sphere bi rds wi th short,
down-curved bi l l s and feathered
nostri l s. Thei r l egs (torsi ) ore portl y
or compl etel y feathered, and the
toes of some ore al so feathered as
on ai d i n wal ki ng on soft s now. Most
hove a bore col ored patch over the
eye. Mol es ore l arger t han femal es
and many hove I orge, i nfatabl e ai r
sacs on the neck. Food i s mai nl y
l eaves, buds, frui ts, and some i nsects.
TURKEYS ( pp. 1 42- 1 44) ore l arge,
non-mi gratory, gregari ous New
Worl d bi rds of open woodl ands.
There are onl y two speci es, the Tur­
key and Ocel l ated Turkey. Mal es,
much l arger than femal es, have
spurs on thei r bare tarsi . The feet ore
naked; mol es hove a trace of web
between the toes. Bi l l short; ski n of
head and neck is bore and bri ghtl y
col ored i n mal e. Fl i ght i s strong but
of short durati on. Food i s acorns,
frui t, seeds, and i nsects.
I ! ó dP|AN0 CAM£8| k05
QUAI L ( pp. 1 32- 1 41 ) are smal l to
medi um-si zed New Worl d bi rds
whi ch have a si ngl e smal l proj ecti on
or "tooth" on thei r bi l l s  Thei r l egs
and feet are not feathered and the
mal e has no spur. Both mal e and
femal e are about the same si ze.
Quai l are chi cken- l i ke, non- mi gra­
tory bi rds. They are monogamous
PARTRI DGES ( pp. 1 48- 1 5 1 ) are
medi um-si zed Ol d Worl d bi rds,
pl umper t han quai l . Thei r bi l l s l ack
the "tooth" serrati on. Both feet and
l egs are f r ee of feathers. Al l ar e
ground- nesters. Two speci es have
been i ntroduced i nto North Amer­
ica from Eurasi a and are now wel l
establ i shed.
EASANTS ( pp. 1 46- 1 47) are Ol d
Worl d bi rds, l arger than quai l and
partri dges, t hat r each t hei r maxi mum
devel opment i n t he hi ghl ands of
Asi a. Legs and feet are bare; mal es
devel op l arge spurs, are l arger, and
more bri ghtl y col ored t han femal es.
Both have characteri sti c l ong, arched
tai l s, better devel oped i n the mal e.
Gray Partr
dP|AN0 CAM£8| k05 1 1 7
RUFFED GROUSE are about t he si ze of ban­
tam chi ckens. Thei r fan-shaped tai l s and neck
"rufs" make them easy to i denti fy. Two di s­
t i nct col or phases exi st: red, more common i n
t he southern part of t he range, and gray i n
the Nort h and West. Mal es are l ar ger and more strongl y
marked than femal es. I n wi nter both grow horny combs
on t hei r toes whi ch act as "snowshoes. "
Rufed Grouse need coni fers for wi nter cover, hard­
wood and brush for spri ng and summer, and open spots
for dusti ng and sunni ng. Abandoned farms and orchards
are i deal . I n l ate spri ng the mal e stands on a l og or
stump and makes a l oud "dr ummi ng" by beati ng t he ai r
rapi dl y wi th hi s wi ngs. Each mates wi th sever al femal es.
The nest i s on t he ground, often near a t ree or rock. The
femal e i ncubates 9 to 1 2 bufy eggs for about 24 days.
Young grouse run about i mmedi atel y and fy a bi t when
onl y 1 2 days ol d.
Frui t, l eaves and buds make up t he di et of adul t
Rufed Grouse. The young take many i nsects. Rufed
Grouse have a varyi ng popul ati on cycl e. Years of abun­
dance are fol l owed by years of extreme scarci ty. Grouse
need and often recei ve protecti on dur i ng the l ow phase
of thei r popul ati on cycl e, whi ch seems to occur about
every ei ght to ten years.
! ! 8 CkOd5£
Local names: Partri dge, Pheasant
Sci enti fc name: Bonasa umbel/us
Wei ghts: Average Record
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 1 6· 1 9 i n.
l b. oz. l b. oz.
1 5 1 1 1
1 2 1 B
Fl i ght speeds: 22 mph
CkOd5£ 1 1 9
SAGE GROUSE, the l argest North Ameri can
grouse, is dark gray-brown on the back wi th
a bl ack bel l y patch and a l ong, poi nted tai l .
Mal es are muc h l arger and more di sti nctl y
marked t han the femal es. They were formerl y
abundant i n ari d sagebrush pl ai ns and foothi l l s but
far mi ng, grazi ng, and the systemati c destructi on of sage­
brush have reduced the popu l ati on greatl y. I n earl y
spri ng Sage Grouse gather together i n an open strutti ng
ground. Here, at dawn, t he mal es strut and di spl ay for
prospecti ve mates. They spread thei r l ong tai l s i nto fans,
droop thei r wi ngs, and i nfl ate and defate ai r sacs on
the neck and breast, maki ng a strange "pl oppi ng" sound.
One mal e may mate wi th several femal es.
The nest, a depressi on under a sagebrush, contai ns
from 7 to 1 3 ol i ve-buf eggs spotted wi th brown. These
hatch i n about 22 days. The young are acti ve very soon
after hatchi ng. The femal e al one i ncubates the eggs and
car es for the young.
Sage Grouse do not have a muscul ar gi zzard l i ke other
grouse. Thei r t hi n-wal l ed stomachs are adapted to soft
foods-the l eaves of sagebrush, suppl emented i n summer
by l eaves and frui t of ot her pl ant s as wel l as grasshoppers
and vari ous other i nsects.
Sage Grouse strutti ng grounds.
Local name: Sage Hen
Sci enti fc name: Centrocercus
Mal e
Femal e
Male 28·30 i n.
Femal e 2 1 -22 i n.
l b. oz.
5 1 0
2 1 0
Fl i ght speeds: 2 8 mph
l b. oz.
8 0
3 3
CkOd5£ 1 2 1
SHARP-TAI LED GROUSE is l arge wi th a
poi nted tai l . Its l i ght-brown back is spotted
wi th whi te and the breast appears streaked.
I n fl i ght the l i ght tai l is conspi cuous. Both
mal es and femal es are al i ke.
Sharp-tai l s are found i n open brush country or i n ad­
j acent prai ri e. Thei r numbers fl uctuate wi th t he amount
of habitat avai l abl e. lumberi ng caused an i ncrease of
avai l abl e open l and and hence of bi rds. Thi s was fol ­
l owed by a decl i ne as forests grew up agai n. I n spri ng,
Sharp-tai l s gat her for courtshi p dances. The mal es rai se
thei r tai l s, droop thei r wi ngs, and run about wi th short,
stampi ng steps, maki ng l ow, cooi ng noi ses. It i s thought
that some dances of the Pl ai ns I ndi ans may have been
patterned after those of the Sharp-tai l s. I n addi ti on,
Sharp-tai l s have a vari ety of cackl i ng, gobbl i ng cal l s.
The femal es nest on the ground, l ayi ng from 1 0 to 1 3
brown speckl ed, ol i ve eggs. The yel l owi sh chi cks hatch
i n about 2 1 days, run about i n a few days, and can fy
i n about two weeks. I nsects form an i mportant part of the
di et but l eaves, fowers and frui t make up the bul k of
food consumed. In wi nter, buds are a maj or i tem. Care­
ful management may be necessary to mai ntai n sui tabl e
habi tat for t hi s speci es.
Mal es danci ng duri ng courtshi p.
1 22 CkOd5£
Local name: Sharptai l
Sci enti fc name: Pedioecetes
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 1 7. 5 i n.
l b. oz.
2 1
1 2
Fl i ght speeds: 33 mph
l b. oz.
2 7
2 3
CkOd5£ 1 23
GREATER PRAI RI E CHI CKEN is a hen-si zed
grouse of prai ri es and grassl ands i denti fed
by i ts rounded tai l and heavi l y bar red under­
parts. The Heath Hen ( p. 1 7), an Atl anti c
coast subspeci es, has been exti nct si nce 1 932.
Si nce the mi d- 1 800' s, when Prai ri e Chi ckens were abun­
dant i n Mi dwest prai ri es, thei r habi tat has been reduced
by agri cul ture and t he bi rds shot unti l thei r numbers have
decl i ned sharpl y.
The mal es gather on "boomi ng grounds" i n earl y spri ng
for courtshi p and mati ng. Each mal e has a terri tory
about 30 feet i n di ameter where he dances and "booms. "
The l oud cal l s, produced by orange ai r sacs, can be
heard for a mi l e. The mal es stamp thei r feet, erect thei r
neck feathers, spread out thei r tai l s, bl ow t hei r ai r sacs,
and i ndul ge i n battl es wi th thei r nei ghbors.
The femal es l ay about 1 2 eggs i n a grass- l i ned depres­
si on. The spotted, ol i ve- buf eggs hatch in about 2 1 days.
The young run around i mmedi atel y and begi n to fy i n
about two weeks.
Prai ri e Chi ckens eat i nsects, l eaves and fruits in sum­
mer. Seeds and waste grai n are i mportant foods the rest
of the year. These grouse have a vari ety of cackl i ng cal l s
much l i ke those of barnyard chi ckens.
Boomi ng grounds.
1 24 CkOd5£
Local names:
Prai ri e Hens
Sci enti fc name:
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 18 i n.
Fl i ght speeds:
Pi nnated Grouse,
l b. oz.
2 3
1 1 3
l b. oz.
3 0
2 4
No i nformation
CkOd5£ 1 25
LESSER PRAI RI E CHICKEN, a pal er, smal l ­
er bi rd of t he short grass pl ai ns, was formerl y
found i n huge numbers but has di mi ni shed
greatl y. Most now occur i n the Panhandl e of
Texas and adj acent Okl ahoma. Thei r court­
shi p is qui te s i mi l ar to that of the Greater Prai r i e Chicken.
The ai r sacs on the mal e are reddi sh rather t han orange,
and thei r "boomi ng" i s di ferent i n pitch. The nest, wel l
conceal ed, may contai n a dozen creamy, spotted buf
eggs. The young resembl e t hose of the Greater Prai ri e
Chi cken. Grasshoppers form an i mportant summer food,
but seeds and waste grai n ore i mportant al l year.
I 2ó CkOd5£
Local name: Pi n nated Grouse
Sci enti fc name: Tympanuchus
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 16 i n.
l b. oz.
1 1 2
1 9
l b. oz.
2 0
1 1 0
Fl i ght speeds: N o i nformati on
BLUE GROUSE of western mountai n forests
i s a l arge, dark grouse. The mal e i s more
strongl y marked than the browner femal e. li n
summer they prefer aspen groves an d wi l l ow
thi ckets. I n wi nter they reverse the usual mi ­
grati on patter n and move up the mountai ns to coni ferous
forests. The mal es, i n spri ng, strut l ike turkeys and " hoot"
l oudl y. Thei r pur pl i sh or yel l ow ai r sacs have borders of
white feathers. The femal e lays 7 to 1 0 buf, s potted eggs
i n a ground depressi on. After the young hatch, the femal e
protects t hem aggressi vel y. I n wi nter these grouse l ive
al most excl usi vel y on coni fer needl es.
Local names: Gray Grouse,
Dusky Grouse, Fool Hen
Sci enti fc name: Dendragapus
Mal e
Femal e
l b. oz.
2 1 3
1 1 4
l b. oz.
3 8
Size: Mal e: 2 1 i n. ; Femal e: 1 8 i n.
fi i ght speeds: No i nformati on
CkOd5£ I 27
forests is very tame and easi l y ki l l ed. Thi s
tameness gi ves it the name "Fool Hen. " The
stri ki ng bl ack underparts of the mal e, barred
wi th whi te, make i t a handsome bi rd. The fe­
mal e i s sma l l er, browner, and l acks the bl ack bel l y. Mal es
have a pecul i ar courtshi p di spl ay. They fy from tree to
tree, pausi ng i n the ai r to make a whi rr i ng noi se by fl ut­
teri ng their wi ngs.
The femal es make a grass- l i ned depressi on and l ay
bufy, brown- bl otched eggs whi ch hatch i n about 1 7 days.
The summer di et of Spruce Grouse i ncl udes l eaves, fruits,
and some i nsects. I n wi nter, coni fer needl es are eaten.
I 28 CkOd5£
Local names: Fool Hen, Spruce
Partri dge, Canada Grouse
Scientifc name: Canachites
Mal e
Fe mol e
Si ze: 1 5· 1 7 i n.
Fl ight speeds:
Average Record
lb. oz. l b. oz.
1 4 8
0 1 5
No i nformati on
PTARMIGAN are bantam-si zed grouse of t he Arcti c and
subarcti c t undr a. Of our three speci es, two, the Wi l l ow
and Rock Ptar mi gan, al so occur in the Ol d Worl d. Ptar­
mi gans have superb protecti ve col orati on and are qui te
tame. I n summer they are mottl ed brown, white-wi nged
bi rds. I n wi nter they turn snowy whi te and grow hai r­
l i ke feathers on thei r feet whi ch ai d t hem in wal ki ng
over soft snow. They fl y swi ftl y and di rectl y wi t h a burst
of s peed fol l owed by a l ong gl i de. Yet Ptar mi gans prefer
to wal k if not di sturbed. I n wi nter l arge focks move to
l ower al ti tudes, and some mi grate for consi derabl e di s­
tances over water. These excel l ent gamebi rds are not
hunted much because they are so far from most hunters.
They do form an i mportant part of t he di et of Al euts,
Eski mo and northern I ndi ans who hunt t hem.
WI LLOW PTARMI GANS, l argest of three speci es, are
subarctic i n di stri buti on. They and the s mal l er Rock
Ptar mi gan retai n t hei r bl ack tai l feathers t he year round.
I n wi nter t he dark eye, bi l l and tai l contrast strongl y wi t h·
t he s nowy pl umage. I n s pr i ng the mal e struts and di s­
pl ays for the femal e, furi ousl y dri vi ng away ri val s. The
nest, on t he ground, contai ns 7 to 1 0 brown, spl otched
eggs. Unl i ke other grouse, t he mal e remai ns to hel p rai se
the chi cks. Summer food is l eaves, buds and frui ts, wi th
some i nsects. I n wi nter wi l l ow buds are eaten.
CkOd5£ 1 29
ROCK PTARMIGAN is sl i ghtl y smal l er t han t he Wi l l ow.
I t prefers hi gher el evati ons and more exposed si tuati ons
where it i s often found far from shelter. The Rock Ptar­
mi gan has strong feet and cl aws, and scratches through
the s now for food. I n wi nter the mal e s hows a bl ack l i ne
through the eye. Mal es battl e other mal es i n spri ng and
di spl ay f or t he femal es. After 6 t o 1 0 eggs are l ai d i n a
tundra depressi on the mal es depart, but return l ater.
WHITE-TAI LED PTARMIGAN i s the smal l est N. A. spe­
ci es, an al pi ne bi rd, l i vi ng above the ti mberl i ne and
breedi ng farther south than the two other speci es. I t l acks
the bl ack tai l of other ptarmi gans and i n wi nter i s pure
white except for dark eye and bi l l . The nest i s i n the
open, and the i ncubati ng femal e i s very rel uctant to
l eave even i f the nest is di sturbed. From 4 to 1 5 eggs
usual l y marked with fne brown dots, are i ncubated. Feed­
i ng habi ts are the same as for other ptarmi gans.
1 30 CkOd5£
Local names: ( Rock Ptarmi gan)
Sci enti fc names:
Wi l l ow: Logopus /agopus
Rock: Lagopus mutus
Whi te-tai l ed: Lagopus /eucurus
Wi l l ow: 1 5- 1 7 i n.
Rock: 1 3 i n.
Whi te-tai l ed : 1 2- 1 3 i n.
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformati on
White-tai l ed
Weights: Average Record
l b. oz. l b. oz.
Wi l l ow:
Mal e
Femal e 4
Mal e 3 5
Femal e 2 4
Whi te-tai l ed:
Mal e 1 2
Femal e 0 1 2
CkOd5£ ! 3I
BOBWHI TE is probabl y the most popul ar
gamebi rd even wi th those who do not hunt.
These smal l chunky bi rds and t hei r cheery
whi stl es are fami l i ar to al l . When not hunted,
Bobwhites become qui te tame and often feed near houses.
Open pi newoods, brushy fi el ds, abandoned farms, and
si mi l ar habi tats ar e preferred. Bobwhi tes usual l y travel
on foot and st ay i n a l i mited area. They need food and
shel ter cl ose together. Hedgerows and shel ter bel ts en­
courage Bobwhi tes on farms. Most of t he year t hey stay
in coveys of a dozen or more bi rds. At ni ght the covey
roosts in a t i ght ci rcl e, heads out and tai l s i n . Thi s con­
serves heat i n wi nter and permits fast getaway i n danger.
The covey breaks up i n spri ng. Mal es establ i sh thei r
terri tori es and cal l the femal es wi th thei r l oud bobwhite.
Pai rs bui l d nests on the ground i n t hi ck cover, often i n
hi gh grass. They are wel l made wi th an arch of woven
grass over t he top. The 1 4 to 1 6 whi te eggs hatc h i n about
23 days. The young bi rds are t humb-si zed but grow rap­
i dl y and can fy i n two weeks. The mal es hel p care for
them. Bobwhi tes are a l most omnivorous. leaves, buds,
frui ts, seeds, i nsects and snai l s al l fnd a pl ace i n t hei r
di et . Besi des the cal l bobwhite, thei r covey cal l quoi -hee
i s best known.
li vi ng fence of Mul ti fora Rose pro­
vi des shel ter. Bush or Bi -col or lesped­
i za provi des food. Such dual pl ant­
i ngs are encou raged.
1 32 QuA| |
Local names: Quai l , Partri dge,
Bi rd
Scientifc name: Colin us
virgini an us
Weights: Average
l b. oz.
Mal e 0 6
Femal e 0 6
Size: 8. 5 to 1 0. 5 i n.
l b. oz.
0 9
0 8. 5
Fl i ght speeds: Crui si ng: 28- 38 mph
Chased: 44 mph
QdA| | 1 33
SCALED QUAI L of the ari d S.W. l i ves i n
sparse grass l ands i nterspersed wi th cactus,
yucca and sal t bush. They are most common
al ong dry washes and i n val l eys. Feat her s on
t he breast and back are edged wi th bl ack,
g1 vt ng t hem thei r scal ed appearance. Al so cal l ed "Cot·
tontops" because of thei r ragged, bushy, whi te crests,
Scal ed Quai l need water at l east once a day and thi s
l i mi ts t hei r r ange. Dry years may prevent nesti ng and
cause l arge di ps i n popul ati on. They can fy strongl y but
prefer wal ki ng: they are di fcul t to fl ush. Groups of 1 0
to 40 bi rds are common; occasi onal l y bands of 1 00 or
more occur. The nesti ng season coi nci des wi th summer
Sal t bush ar A t ri pl ex
1 34 QdA| |
rai ns. The nest is a hol l ow, l i ned wi th grass, usual l y under
a bush. Twel ve to 1 4 whi te eggs , speckl ed brown, ar e
i ncubated by t he femal e. The mal e hel ps rear t he young.
Thei r di et i ncl udes shoots, l eaves, frui ts and i nsects.
Local names: Cotton top, Bl ue
Quai l
Sci enti fc name: Callipepla
Weights: Average Record
l b. oz. l b. oz.
Mal e 0 7 0 8. 2
Femal e 0 6 0 6. 7
Size: 1 0- 1 2 i n.
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformati on
Yel l ow-fowered Pri ckl y Pear Screwbean Mesqui te
QdA| | 1 35
CALI FORNI A QUAI L are adapt abl e, fami l ­
i ar bi rds of suburban gardens and even ci ty
parks. Bol d face marki ngs and ti l ti ng crests
i denti fy the mal es. These smal l pl ump quai l
prefer open woodl ands, chappar al and
grassy val l eys. Wi t h spreadi ng ci ti es and overgrazed
ranges, thei r popul ati on has decl i ned but they are sti l l
common. Thi s quai l r uns strongl y but wi l l often hi de and
t hen fl ush expl osi vel y. These gregari ous bi rds wi nter i n
groups of 25 t o 60. Bands of 500 to 600 are occasi onal l y
found. At ni ght they usual l y roost of the ground in thi ckets
or trees. Arti fi ci al roosts are someti mes suppl i ed for t hem.
The constructi on of u nderground water hol es has opened
habitats unavai l abl e before for these quai l .
The nest is a depressi on i n the ground, wel l hi dden and
l i ned wi th grass. I n i t are 9 to 1 4 bl otched, cream-whi te
eggs whi ch the femal e i ncubates for about 23 days. The
mal e hel ps rear the young and, if the femal e i s l ost, may
i ncubate t he eggs. I n years of drought, Cal i forni a Quai l
may not attempt to breed. These vegetari an quai l take
onl y about 3% of i nsects i n thei r di et. The rest i s seeds or
greens, dependi ng on the season. Cal i forni a Quai l have
several cal l s. Perhaps the best known i s a l oud, three­
syl l abl ed chi-co-go.
1 36 QdA| |
Poro I ndi an basket
wi th quai l pl umes
Local name: Val l ey Quai l
Sci enti fc name: Lophortyx
Wei ghts:
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 9. 5- 1 1 i n.
l b. oz.
0 6. 2
0 6
l b. oz.
0 7. 3
0 7. 3
Fl i ght speeds: Crui si ng: 38 mph
Chased: 58 mph
QdA| | ! 37
GAMBEL' S QUAI L is found onl y in ari d
country. I t resembl es Cal iforni a Quai l cl ose­
l y but has a bl ack patch on the bel l y and
more red-brown on t he head. I t prefers brush,
especi al l y thi ckets of mesqu ite and hackberry.
Ori gi nal l y the ferti l e ri ver bottoms supported heavy pop­
ulati ons but these have dwi ndl ed as the l and has been
cul tivated. Gambel ' s Quai l are very strong r unners and
ar e fl ushed with diffi cu l ty. I n fal l and wi nter they gather
i n fl ocks of 20to 50 or more. I n earl y spri ng these break
up wi th much fi ghti ng among the mal es as they set up
terri tori es. The nest i s on the gr ound, usual l y under a
bush. Ten to I 7 eggs, dul l whi te spl otched wi th dark
brown, a re i ncubated from 2I to 23 days-mostl y by the
femal e. Mal es do some i ncubati on and hel p care for the
brood. I n favorabl e (wet) years two broods may be
rai sed. I n dry years the quai l may fai l to breed.
The diet of Gambel ' s Quai l is over 90% vegetabl e.
Dur i ng the br ood peri od i nsects are taken, but seeds,
frui ts and greens are favored. Succul ent pl ants hel p pro­
vi de water. li ke other quai l , the Gambel 's have many
songs and cal l s, i ncl udi ng qui et conversati onal notes.
Most often heard are l oud cal l s si mi l ar to the Cal i forni a
Quai l but hi gher and more nasal .
1 . Sl opi ng apron col l ects water.
2. Mouth of underground tank.
" 3. Roof i nsul ated wi th soi l and
rock. 4. Entrance to tank barred
to keep out l arge ani mal s. 5.
Fence keeps out l ivestock.
I 38 QdA| |
Local name: Desert Quai l
Sci enti fc name: Lophortyx
Wei ghts: Average
l b. oz.
Mal e 0 6
Femal e 0 5. 7
Si ze: 1 0· 1 1 i n.
Fl i ght speeds: 41 mph
Runni ng speed: 1 5. 5 mph
l b. oz.
0 7. 3
0 6. 8
QdA| | ! 39
MOUNTAI N QUAI L is t he l argest and most
stri ki ng i n N. Amer. The chestnut throat and
bel l y, gray breast, bar r ed fl anks and l ong
strai ght crest are unmi stakabl e. They prefer
thi ck br ush. Water i s very i mportant and they
are foun d n ot far from i t. They do not form l ar ge coveys;
gr oups of onl y 6 to 1 2 bi rds are normal . Nests are usu­
a l l y pl aced under bushes or by rocks or fal l en l ogs. Ei ght
to 1 2 pal e reddi sh- buf eggs are i ncubated for about 2 1
days b y both mal e and
femal e. Mal es al so hel p
care for the young.
Mountai n Quai l eat vege­
tabl e food. Seeds, fruits,
greens, buds, and even
roots are t aken. I nsects
are i mportant ear l y i n
t he brood peri od. Mal es
have a l oud, cl ear whi stl e.
1 40 QdA| |
Local names: Pl umed Quai l ,
Mount ai n Partri dge
Sci entifc name: Oreorfyx
Weights: Average
l b. oz.
Mal e 0 8. 2
Femal e
0 8. 2
Size: 1 0- 1 1 i n.
l b. oz.
0 1 0. 2
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformati on
HARLEQUI N QUAI L is found in the pi ne and oak u p­
l ands of the dry S. W. A Mexi can speci es whi ch j ust reaches
t he U. S. , it prefers scattered brushl ands. The stri ped face,
speckl ed body and bushy crest i denti fy i t; femal es are
dul l er. Har l equi n Quai l hi de when approached and wi l l
fus h onl y at t he l ast moment. They pl ace t hei r nests i n
deep grass and l ay 8 to 1 4 white eggs. Femal es i ncubate,
but mal es hel p rear the chi cks. I nsects are the mai n sum­
mer di et; roots, seeds and fruits are t aken i n wi nter.
local names: Pai nted Quai l , Fool
Quai l , Mearn' s Quai l
Sci enti fc name: Cerfonyx monte-
Weights: Average Record
l b. oz. l b. oz.
Mal e 0 7. 3
Femal e 0 5. 5
Si ze: 8 i n.
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformati on
QdA| | 1 41
TURKEYS ar e t he ki ngs of North
Ameri can upl and gamebi rds. Wi del y
used by I ndi ans, t hey were domesti ­
cated i n Mexi co l ong before Col um­
bus arri ved. Taken to Spai n, they
spread through the Near East, perhaps acqui r i ng t he mi s­
nomer of "turkey" on the way. Nati ve turkey popul ati ons
decl i ned steadi l y wi th settl ement and agr i cul ture. The
bi rds now occupy on l y a fracti on of t hei r ori gi nal range.
Wi l d bi rds are sl i mmer, darker, and more streaml i ned
than domesti c ones. Both sexes have a "beard"-a hai r­
l i ke tuft of breast feathers. Thi s is more devel oped in the
mal e, whi ch al so has more head col or and more i ri des­
cence i n i ts feathers. Femal es are smal l er and l i ghter.
Turkeys prefer open woods wi th c l eari ngs or western park
l and. They need brushy cover, water and a suppl y of
acorns, beechnuts, wi l d grapes, dogwood, and other
fruits. They take grai n, seeds and, in summer, l arge i nsects.
Duri ng most of the year gobbl ers fock toget her away
from the hens and young. Fl ocks roost in trees, feedi ng
i n earl y mor ni ng and l ate eveni ng. I n earl y spri ng each
gobbl er establ i shes hi s terri tory where he struts and gob­
bl es. The hens soon come and, aft er the usual fghti ng
wi th ri val s, each gobbl er sets up a harem of several hens.
Ri o Grande subspecies
! 42 Idkk£Y5
Local name: None
Sci enti fc name: Meleagris
Wei ghts:
Mal e
Femal e
l b. oz.
1 6
9 5
Size: Mal e: 48 i n.
Femal e: 36 i n.
Fl i ght speed: 55 mph
l b. oz.
23 1 3
1 2 5
Idkk£Y5 I 43
Each hen nests in a sl i ght depressi on near a cl eari ng, l ay­
i ng from 8 to 1 5 buf, fnel y spotted eggs. The hen al one
i ncubates f or 28 days, t hen broods t he acti ve young
whi ch are abl e to fy and roost i n trees i n about 4 weeks.
Turkeys prefer wal ki ng and r unni ng to fl i ght, but, when
pressed or start l ed, fy strongl y and di rectl y, usual l y ri si ng
at steep angl es and gl i di ng of for consi derabl e di stances.
Turkeys are wary, nervous bi rds that keep constantl y on
t he move. Thei r restorati on as gamebi rds depends on
man's mai ntai ni ng of l arge stretches of open woodl ands
wi th oak, beech, nut pi nes, and wi l d fruits, whi ch t he bi rds
need. Four subspeci es occur i n the U. S.
1 44 1dkk£Y5
I mportation of pheasants in 1 790.
EXOTIC GAMEBI RDS were i ntroduced i nto Nort h Amer­
i ca even before Benj ami n Frankl i n' s son- i n- l aw tri ed to
establ i sh partri dges and pheasants i n New Jersey i n 1 790.
Hundreds of other attempts were made i n hopes that
exoti c bi rds woul d take t he pl ace of fast- di sappeari ng
nati ve speci es. Most attempts wer e fai l ures ( pp. 1 52- 1 53)
and to date onl y three speci es have been successful l y
establ i shed. General l y speaki ng, t he chances of success
are l i mi ted when native speci es are doi ng wel l i n t he
same envi ronment and can compete di rectl y wi t h t he
i ntroduced s peci es. Success may al so be l i mi ted unl ess
the new envi ronment i s very much l i ke the one in whi ch
the exoti c speci es has prospered. Fi nal l y, a l arge enough
i ntroduct i on must be made to gi ve t he new bi rds a chance
to bui l d up popul ati ons i n the face of normal mortal i ty.
Two of our three successful exoti c speci es can get al ong
wi t h t he i ntensi ve agri cul ture t hat has doomed most up­
l and gamebi rds. But even t he Ri ng- necked Pheasant and
t he Gray Partri dge need hel p. Thi s i s provi ded when
hedgerows and wi ndbreaks are rei nforced wi th shel ter
and food pl ants, and when farm practi ces l eave wi nter
fel ds wi th waste grai n for the bi rds. The Chukar Par­
tri dge, whose success has been more l i mi ted, i s abl e to
l i ve on rough, barren mountai n sl opes of t he Southwest
where t here are few nati ve gamebi rds. These successful
speci es provi de game i n areas where i t woul d otherwi se
be l acki ng.
1 45
RI NG-NECKED PHEASANTS were fi rst suc­
cessful l y i ntroduced i n 1 88 1 though attempts
had been made nearl y a century before. The
years1 t hat fol l owed saw many transpl ants of
di fer�nt strai ns of pheasants, some wi th
ri nged necks, so� wi thout. Present Ameri can stock i s
a mi xture of several strai ns. Pheasants are now frml y
establ i shed, doi ng best i n t he cornbel t and on i rri gated
western far ml ands. Because of the heat or other l ess
understood reasons, they do not survi ve in t he dry South­
west, or i n the moi ster Southeast. The gaudy pl umage
and l ong arched tai l of the cock pheasant are unmi s­
takabl e. Hens are smal l er and show a subdued pattern
of brown, buf and bl ack. They, too, have l ong tai l s.
Pheasants need vari ed habi tats-mi xtures of cropl and,
grass l and and brush are best. I n wi nter they form smal l
l oose focks i n which the sexes ar e more or l ess seg­
regated. Large numbers may congregate i n areas where
food and shel ter are good. Pheasants usual l y prefer
I 4ó PM£A5AN15
to run when di sturbed, t hough t hey can fl y strongl y for
short di stances. I n spri ng t he cocks establ i sh terri tori es
and defend them fercel y. Each i s j oi ned by several hens
whi ch nes t i n wel l -conceal ed hol l ows, i ncubati ng 6 t o
1 6 dul l green i sh eggs f or 22 to 23 days. The chi cks grow
rapi dl y and can fy i n two or t hree weeks. Pheasants
feed mai nl y on waste grai n, weed seeds, wi l d fruits and
insects. The "crow" of t he cock is l i ke an ol d-fashioned
automobi l e hor n-a raucous ah-oogah.
Local names: Ri ng-neck, Engl i sh
Pheasant, Chi nese Pheasant
Sci enti fc name: Phasianus
Weights: Average
l b. oz.
Mal e 2 1 1
femal e 2 2
Size: Mal e: 30-36 i n.
femal e: 2 1 -25 i n.
l b. oz.
Fl i ght speeds: Crui si ng: 27-38 mph
Chased: 60 mph
PM£A5AN15 1 47
GRAY PARTRI DGES were not successf ul l y
i ntroduced unti l the l ate 1 800' s despi te sev­
eral ear l i er attempts. Thi s common European
gamebi rd does wel l i n habi tats that wi l l not
support nati ve speci es. It prefers a cool , somewhat dry el i ­
mote and seems to thri ve on open, cul ti vated l ands, as i n
the north central states and adj acent Canada. Even i n
severe wi nter weather Gray Partri dges can be found i n
the open searchi ng for waste grai n. The gray breast,
chestnut bel l y patch and short chestnut toi l ore good
fel d marks. Gray Partri dges usual l y fy l ow and fast,
al ternati ng bursts of wi ng beats with coasti ng on sti fl y
arched wi ngs. I n wi nter they move i n coveys of 20 to
30 bi rds. Wi th spri ng the bi rds pai r of, the mol es fght­
ing conti nual l y. later each pair goes of to nest, mak­
i ng a shal l ow depressi on l i ned wi th grass. The femal e
l ays 9 to 20 ol i ve eggs whi ch she i ncubates al one for
about 24 days, coveri ng the eggs wi th grass and l eaves
when she l eaves the nest. The mal e stays nearby and
l ater hel ps care for the young·. The Gray Partri dge feeds
pr i mari l y on gr ai n g l eaned from harvested fel ds. I t takes
wheat, bar l ey, corn and oats, seeds of weeds and grasses,
and some wi l d fruits. A few i nsects ore eaten in sum­
mer. The cal l of thi s partri dge i s a harsh kee-ah.
1 48 PAk1k| 0C£5
Local names: Hungari an Par·
!ri dge, Hun, Hunkie, European
Partri dge
Sci enti fc name: Perdix perdix
Wei ghts: Average Record
Mal e
Femal e
Si ze: 1 2- 1 3 i n.
l b. oz. l b. oz.
0 1 4 1 0
0 1 3 0 1 5
Fl i ght speeds: Crui si ng : 2 7 mph
Chased: 53 mph
PAk1k| 0C£5 1 49
CHUKAR PARTRI DGE, nati ve of dry south­
eastern Europe and parts of Asi a, was frst
brought to North Ameri ca i n 1 893. Earl y at­
tempts at i ntroducti on were fai l ures and even
after repeated eforts t he bi rd i s not too wel l establ i shed.
I t needs semi - ari d, open, rocky country and so has done
best i n parts of the West where adequate wat er i s avai l ­
abl e. Chukars are handsome bi rds, between quai l and
grouse i n si ze, easi l y recogni zed by t hei r stri ki ng face
pattern and barred fl anks. They fy strongl y but, unl ess
approached from above, prefer to escape by r unni ng
uphi l l . Duri ng summer, when water i s especi al l y i mpor­
tant, t hey are sel dom found far from i t. The rest of the
year they are more wi despread. Fl ocks of 1 0 to 40 bi rds
are t he r ul e. Chukars prefer t o roost on t he gr ound, i n
t he open or among rocks. I n spri ng t he bi r ds pai r of
and, as s oon as t he eggs are l ai d i n a hol l ow near a
rock or bush, the mal es go of to form t hei r own groups.
The femal es i ncubate t he creamy, brown speckl ed eggs
for 21 to 22 days. later the mal es return and hel p care
for the young. Chukars feed mai nl y on weed seeds, wi l d
frui ts, l eaves, and bul bs. The bul bs are dug out wi th thei r
bi l l s. Seasonal l y, i nsects, especi al l y grasshoppers, are
i mportant. The common cal l gi ves t he bi rds t hei r name.
Rock Partri dge
1 50 PAktk| 0C£5
Local name: Rock Partri dge
name: Alectoris graeca
Mal e
Femal e
Size: 13 i n.
Average Record
l b. oz. l b. oz.
4 1 8
2 1 4
Fl i ght speeds: No i nformati on
Runni ng speed: 18 mph
PAk1k| 0C£5 I 5 I
Asi a
Rufous-wi nged Ti namou
South Ameri ca
I 52


Bai kal Teal
Asi a
Wi thi n a century after t he di scovery
of Ameri ca attempts at i ntroduci ng
new wi l dl ife wer e made. These hap­
hazard i ntroducti ons conti nued for
300 years unti l the U. S. Fi sh and
Wi l dl i fe Servi ce took control of the
si tuati on i n 1 900. lack of knowl edge
made most of t hese attempts fai l ­
ures. At best the eforts wer e costl y
and uncertai n. Some i ntroduced
forms damaged crops and competed
with val ued native speci es. Onl y a
few have found a pl ace for them­
sel ves here. These have been i n­
c l uded on previ ous pages.
For fi fty mi l l i on years bi rds have
drifted i nto new envi ronments. Some
Capercai l l i e
Chachal aca
Cock, Bl ack
Dove, Austral i an Crested
Dave, Bl eedi ng Hearl
Dove, Spotted
Dove, Ri ng-necked
Dove, Rock
Frpncol i n, Common
Goose, Egypti an
Grouse, Hazel
Grouse, Sand
Gui nea Fowl
Partri dge, Bamboo
Partridge, Red-l egged
have survi ved and devel oped i n
them. The sl ow si ft i ng process of evo­
l uti on has gradual l y pl aced most
bi rds i n t hei r best envi ronments.
New and sudden i ntroducti ons rarel y
consi der al l the factors i nvol ved i f
a bi rd i s to prosper i n an unoccu­
pi ed or newl y created habi tat. Long
study of the bi rd i n i ts ori gi nal hab­
i tat and detai l ed study of the new are
needed. Thi s i ncl udes a ful l knowl ­
edge of food, shel ter and nesti ng
habi ts, di sease resi stance, competi ­
ti ve speci es and possi bl e enemi es.
Bel ow are l i sted some of the at­
tempted gamebi rd i ntroducti ons i n
the Uni ted States that have not been
successf ul . Many other speci es have
al so been tri ed.
Pheasant, Bl ock·backed Kal eege
Pheasant, Copper
Pheasant, Gol den
Pheasant, Lady Amherst
Pheasant, Mongol i an
Pheasant, Reeves
Pkeasant, Si l ver
Pheasant, Trapagan
Quai l , Button
Quai l , Coturni x
Quai l , El egant
Swan, Mute
Teal , Bai kal
Teal , Common
Ti namou (Tinamus robustus)
Ti namou, Rufous· wi nged
Turkey, Oscel l ated
Coturni x Quai l
Eurasi a
1 53
Di ki ng a waterfowl marsh.
I n recent years wi l dl i fe management has poi nt ed t he way
to i ncrease t he popul at i ons of gamebi rds . Earl y eforts
were tri ggered by the drasti c decl i ne of many speci es i n
the l ate 1 800' s. These eforts i ncl uded a rti fci al propa­
gati on of stock and the i nt roducti on of substi tute exoti c
speci es. Research now s hows that t he most sui tabl e way
to i ncrease t he gamebi rd popul ati on i s t hrough habi tat
i mprovement . When natural envi ronments are drasti cal l y
changed or reduced, a drop i n gamebi rds i nevi tabl y f ol ­
l ows. When t he envi ronment i s agai n made favorabl e,
Forest cl ear i ng i ncreases food pl ants.
popul at i ons bui l d up. Thi s pr i nci pl e can be appl i ed to
many types of habi tat. Wet l ands are essenti al to al l
waterfowl . I n past years too many marshes and sl oughs
wer e dr ai ned. Wi th t he establ i shment of a conti nent-wi de
refuge system an d t he restorati on of wet l ands, duck pop­
u l at i ons have parti al l y recovered. Far mi ng practi ces det­
r i mental t o upl and gamebi rds can be mi t i gated by l eav-
i ng br ush in fence rows, pl ant i ng l i vi ng fences, establ i s h­
i ng food patches, and excl udi ng grazi ng cat t l e from
woodl ands. Enc l osed corners of pastures whi ch al l ow
brush an d weeds to grow provi de food and s hel ter for
quai l . Where wi nters are severe, evergreen pl ant i ngs
provi de s hel ter. The bui l di ng of br ush pi l es, roosts, or
wateri ng hol es may al so be efecti ve. Forest cl ear i ngs
encourage a vari ety of pl ants whi ch provi de di versi fed
shel ter and more pl enti ful food. Even fi re can be usef ul .
Properl y control l ed i t mai ntai ns certai n habi tats l i ke south­
ern pi ne forests and mi dwestern pr ai ri es.
Habi tat i mprovement i s carri ed on mai nl y by state fs h
and game or conservati on departments. Trai ned game
managers devel op proj ects on publ i c l and and advi se an d
assi st persons or groups wh o want t o try such practi ces
on pri vate l and.
1 56
Fi el d Gui des and Surveys
Kortri ght, F. H. , DUCKS, GEESE & SWAN S OF N. AMER. , Stackpol e, 1 953
Leopol d, A. S. , WI L DL I F E OF MEXI CO, U. of Cal . Press, Berkel ey, 1 959
Peterson, R. T. , FI ELD GUI D E TO T HE BI RDS, Houghton, 1 947
Peterson, R. T. , FI ELD GUI D E TO WESTERN BI RDS, Houghton, 1 961
Pough, R. H. , AU D U BON WATER BI R D Gu i DE, Doubl eday, 1 951
Pough, R. H. , AUDUB ON WESTERN BI RD GUI D E, Doubl eday, 1 957
Rand, A. L., AMERI CAN WATER & GAME BI RDS, Dutton, 1 956
Life Hi stori es and Reports
Bent, A. C. , L I F E HI STORI ES OF N. AMER. WI L D FowL ( Parts 1 & 2), U. S.
Nat. Mus. Bul l s. 1 26 & 1 30, Washi ngton, D. C., 1 925, 1 927
LI F E HI STORI E S OF N. AMER. SHORE BI RDS (Part 1 ) , U. S. Nat. Mus. Bul l .
1 42, Washi ngton, D. C. , 1 927
1 62, Washi ngton, D. C. , 1 932
Bump, G. , R. Darrow, F. Edmi nster & W. Cressy, THE RU FFED GROUSE,
N. Yø State Conserv. Dept. , Al bany, N. Y., 1 947
Hochbaum, H. A., CANVASBACK ON A PRAI R I E MARSH, Wi l dl i fe Mgmt.
l nst. , Washi ngton, D. C. , 1 959
Sowl es,
. K. , PRAI R I E DUCKS, Wi l dl i fe Mgmt. l nst. , Wash. , D. C. , 1 955
Stoddard, H. L. , THE BoBWHI TE QUAI L, Scri bners, New York_ 1 943
Conservation and Management
Al l en, D. , PHEASANTS I N N. AMER. , Wi l dl i fe Mgmt. I ns! . , Wash. , D. C. ,
1 956
Edmi nster, F. C. , AME RI CAN GAME BI R DS OF F I ELD & FoR EST, Scri bners,
New York, 1 954
Marti n, A. C. , H. S. Zi m & A. L. Nel son, AME RI CAN WI L DL I F E & PLANTS,
McGraw- Hi l l , New York, 1 951
McAtee, W.
AMER. , Wi l dl i fe Mgmt. l nst. , Washi ngton, D. C. , 1 945
Mosby, H. S. & C. 0. Handl ey, THE WI L D TUR KEY IN VI R GI N I A, Comm.
Game & I n l and Fi sheri es, Ri chmond, 1 943
Mi ssouri Studi es, 20, No. 1 , Col umbi a, Mi ssou ri , 1 945
Wri ght, B. S. , HI GH TI DE AND AN EAST WI ND ( Bl ack Duck), Wi l dl i fe Mgmt.
l nst. , Washi ngton, D. C., 1 954
There ore about 290 Notional
Wi l dl i fe Refuges i n the United
States. These total 28'h mi l l i on
acres. Some of the l arger or better
known ones, wel l worth visiti ng,
ore l i sted bel ow. A mop of some
of these refuges is on p. 1 2. Vi si ·
tors ore wel come. A compl ete l i st
with addresses con be obtai ned
from the U. S. Fi sh and Wi l dl i fe
Service, Washi ngton 25, D. C.
Al euti an I sl ands, Kenai Noti onal
Moose, Kodi ak. ARIZONA: Ho·
vosu Lake, I mperi al (al so Col ifor·
nio), Kofo Game Range. CALI­
FORNIA: Merced, Sacramento,
Sal ton Sea, Tul e-Ki omoth Lake.
COLORADO: Monte Vi sta. DEL­
AWARE: Bombay Hook. FLORI­
DA: Chossohowi tzko, Great Whi te
Heron, Key Deer, Key West, Loxa­
hatchee, Sani bel , St. Marks.
GEORGIA: Bl ockbeord I sl and,
Okefenokee, Piedmont, Savannah
(al so South Carol i na) . I LLINOIS:
Coutouquo, Crab Orchard, Mark
Twai n (al so I owa and Missouri ) .
I OWA: Uni on Sl ough. KANSAS:
Ki rwi n, Quivero. KENTUCKY: Ken­
tucky Woodl ands. LOUISIANA:
Del ta, Lacassi ne, Sabi ne. MAINE:
Moosehorn. MARYLAND: Bl ock­
nomoy, Porker River. MICHI­
GAN: Seney, Shi owossee. MIN­
NESOTA: Agnossiz, Ri ce Lake,
Tamarac, Upper Mi ssi ssi ppi River
(al so I l l i noi s, Iowa, Wi sconsi n) .
MISSISSI PPI : Gul f I sl ands, Nox·
ubee, Yazoo. MISSOURI : Mi ngo,
Squaw Creek, Swan Lake. MON­
TANA: Benton Lake, Bowdoi n, Ft.
Peck Game Range, Medi ci ne
Lake, Notional Bi son Range, Red
Rock Lakes. NEBRASKA: Crescent
Lake, DeSoto ( al so I owa), Ft. Ni o·
broro, Vol enti ne. NEVADA: Des­
ert, Ruby Lake, Sti l l water. NEW
JERSEY: Bri ganti ne, Troy Mead­
ows. NEW MEXICO: Bitter Lake,
Bosque del Apache. NEW YORK:
El i zabeth Morton, Montezuma,
Oak Orchard. NORTH CAROLI­
NA: Mottamuskeet, Pea I sl and.
NORTH DAKOTA: Arrawwood,
Des Lacs, Lake l l o, Long Lake, Lost­
wood, Lower Souris, Sl ade, Snoke
Creek, Sul lys Hi l l, Tewoukon, Up·
per Souri s. OKLAHOMA: Sal t
Pl ai ns, Ti shomi ngo. OREGON:
Mol heur, Shel don-Hart Mt. ( al so
Nevada) . PENNSYLVANIA: Eri e.
mai n, Carol i na Sondhi l l s, Santee.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Locreek, Lake
Andes, Sand Lake, Waubay.
TENNESSEE. Reel foot, Tennessee.
TEXAS: Aransas, Bufal o Lakes,
Hagerman, Laguna Atascosa,
Mul eshoe, San a Ana. UTAH:
Bear River, Fi sh Spri ngs. VER­
MONT: Mi ssi squoi . VIRGI NIA:
Bock Boy, Chi ncoteoque, Presqui l e.
WASHINGTON: Col umbi a, Littl e
Pend Orei l l e, McNary, Tur nbul l ,
Wi l l apo. WISCONSI N: Hori con,
Necedah. WYOMING. Notional
El k, Hutton Lake.
MA8|1A1 | MPkOV£M£N1 1 57
Arrowhead, *87
" E Bal dpate, (See
] Wi dgeon)
� Bandi ng, 1 0
Bi bl i ography, 1 56

Bobwhi te, * 1 1 , * 1 1 5,
� * ! 1 7, * 1 32, * 1 33,
.. �
1 54
! Brant,
� Ameri can, *24, 25
" [ Bl ack, *25
Buffl ehead, *69
� Bul rush, * 88
" �

Canvasback, * 4, 58,
� *60, * 61 , *86
. _capercai l l i e, * 1 52
Chachal aca, 1 52
Chi cken,
Greater Prai ri e,
* 1 24, * 1 25, 1 26
Lesser Prai ri e, * 1 26
Cock, Bl ack, * 1 52
Coot, 89, *96, *97
Cordgrass, *87
Coturni x, * 1 53
Croke, Corn, 1 52
Crane, Whoopi ng, 6
* 1 9
1 58 I NDEX
Asteri sks ( *) denote pages on whi ch the
subjects are i l l ustrated.
The pages i ndicated in bol dface type
are those contai ni ng the maj or text treat­
ment and most extensi ve i nformati on.
Curassow, 1 52
Curl ew,
Eski mo, * 1 6, 1 02
Hudsoni an, 1 6, 1 02
Long-bi l l ed, * 1 02
Dodo, * 1 5, 1 6
Austral i an Crested,
1 52
Bl eedi ng Heart, 1 52
Ground, 1 1 2, * 1 1 3
I nca, 1 1 2, * 1 1 3
i ntroducti on to, 1 04
Mourni ng, * 1 1 , * 1 05,
* 1 0, * 1 07, 1 08
Ri ng-necked, 1 52
Rock, 1 04, * 1 1 0,
1 52
Spotted, 1 52
Whi te-fronted, 1 1 2,
* 1 1 3
White-wi nged,
* 1 08, * 1 09
Dowitcher, *98
Bahama, *44
Bl ack, *34, * 36,
* 37, 39, 44, *86
Duck, (cont . )
Bl ack-bel l i ed tree,
* 1 9, 33
Fl ori da, 39
food, 86
ful vous tree, 1 9,
Greater Scaup, *62,
Harl equi n, * 71
Labrador, * 1 6
Lesser Scaup, * 1 1 ,
*62, *64, *65
Masked, *57
Mexi can, *38, *39
Mottl ed, *34, *39
Ri ng- necked, *62,
Ri ver, 21
Ruddy, * 56, *57
Sea, 2 1
Wood, * 54, *55,
Ei der,
Common, *78, *79
Ameri can subsp. ,
Northern subsp. , *78
Paci fi c subsp. , *78
Eider, {cont. ) Goose, (cont. ) Ol dsquaw, *70
Ki ng, * 81 Ri chardson' s, * 22
Spectacl ed, * 82 Ross' , * 1 8, * 28
Parrot, 1 6
Stel l er' s, *80 Snow, 1 8, 30
Partri dge, * 1 1 7
Exti nct speci es, 1 5- 1 7 Greater, 28
Bamboo, 1 52
lesser, * 28, *29
Chuka r, 1 45, *150,
Fl yway, 6, *7
Tul e, 26, *27
* 1 5 1
Western, *22
food, 1 48
Francol i n Common,
Whi te-fronted, *3,
Gray, * 1 1 7, 1 45,
1 52
26, *27, *30
* 1 48, * 1 49
Grouse, 1 1 5, 1 1 6
Red- l egged, * 1 50,
Gadwal l , * 40, * 41 , 42 Bl ue, * 1 27
1 52
Gal l i nul e, 89 Hazel , 1 52
Rock, * 1 50
Common, *95 Rufed, *3, *11 8,
Pel i can,
Purpl e, *95 * 1 1 9, * 1 54, * 1 55
Brown, 1 8
Gamebi rd, Sage, * 1 20, * 1 2 1
Whi te, 1 8, * 1 9
exoti c, 145 Sand, 1 52
Pheasant, 1 1 5
habi tat Sharp-tai l ed, * 1 22,
Bl ack-backed
i mprovement, 1 54, * 1 23
Kal eege, 1 53
1 55 Spruce, * 1 1 6, * 1 28
Copper, 1 53
i ntroducti ons, 1 52
Gol den, 1 53
i ntroducti on to, 4
lady Amherst, * 1 53
mi gratory, 6
Heat h Hen, * 17, 1 1 5,
Mongol i an, 1 53
non-mi gratory, 1 2,
1 24
Reeves, * 1 53
1 3
Ri ng-necked, * 1 1 7,
Godwi t,
Hawai i an, 1 6
1 45, * 1 46, * 1 47,
Hudsoni an, * 1 03
* 1 54
Marbl ed, * 1 03
Si l ver, 1 53
Gol deneye,
T rapogan, 1 53
Barrow' s, *68
Mal l ard, • 2 1 , 24,
Pi geon, 1 6, 1 04
Common, * 2 1 , * 66,
28, *34, *35, 36
Band-tai l ed, *3,
*38, 39
* 1 04, * 1 1 0,
Goose, 20
Hybri d, *44
* 1 1 1
Bl ue, *30, * 31
Common, 1 04, * 1 1 0
Cackl i ng, *22
Common, * 83, *84 i ntroducti on t o, 1 04
Canada, * 1 1 , * 1 4,
Hooded, * 83, *85 Passenger, * 1 5,
*20, *22, *23 i ntroducti on t o, 83 * 1 7, 1 04
Common, 22, *23
Red-breasted, * 84, Red-bi l l ed, * 1 1 4
Egypti an, 1 52
*85 Whi te-crowned, * 1 1 4
Emperor, *32 Mi grat i on routes, 6, *7
Pi ntai l , *3, *5, *40,
lesser Canada, 22
Muskgrass, *87 44* , *45
I NDEX 1 59
Pl over, 98 Refuges, Nati onal Threatened and ex-

Ameri can Gol den, Wi l dl ife, ti net species, 1 5-
* 1 02 map, 1 2 1 8
Upl and, * 1 03 l i st, 1 57 Ti namou,
Pondweed, *87 Refuge Systems, 1 1 Rufous-wi nged, * 1 52
Ptarmi gan, Regul ati ons, 8 Turkey, 1 1 5, 1 42
Rock, 1 29, * 1 30, Research, 9 Domestic, * 1 44
* 1 3 1 Easter n Subsp. ,
Whi te-tai l ed, * 1 29,
Sandpi per, 98
* 1 42, * 1 43
* 1 30, * 1 3 1 Fl ori da subsp. , * 1 44
Wi l l ow, * 1 29, * 1 30,
Ameri can, *7 4
Merri am' s subsp. ,
* 1 3 1
Common, *76, *77
* 1 44
Su rf, *74, *75, *76
Oscel l ated, *"1 1 6,
Quai l , 1 6, 1 1 7
Vel vet, 72
1 53
Button, 1 53
Whi te-wi nged, *72,
Ri o-Grande subsp. ,
Cal i forni a, *4, * 1 42
73, *74
* 1 36, 1 37 Tur nstone, 98

Shorebi rd,
Coturnix, * 1 53
i nt roducti on to, 98
Desert, * 1 39
Shovel l er, * 52, *53 Upl and gamebi rds,
l El egant, 1 53
Smartweed, *87 cl assi fi cati on, 1 1 6,
food, 1 34, 1 35
Gambel ' s, * 1 38,
Sni pe, Common, 1 1 7
* 1 39
*3, * 98, *99 i ntroducti on to, 1 1 5

Spi kerush, *88
� Harl equi n, * 1 41
Swan, 20

Mountai n, * 1 40 Waterfowl ,

Mute, 1 8, * 1 53
Scal ed, * 1 34, * 1 35 i ntroducti on to, 20 Æ
Tru mpeter, * 1 8
Val l ey, * 1 37
Whi stl i ng, *3, 1 8,
Wei ghts and records,
1 4
Rai l , 1 6
Whi mbrel , * 1 02
Bl ack, *92 Wi dgeon,
Cl apper, * 92, *93 Tabl e of contents, 3 Ameri can, * 40, * 42,
i nt roducti on to, 89 Teal , 43
Ki ng, * 90 Bai kal , * 1 52, 1 53
European, 42, *43
Long-bi l l ed, *89 Bl ue-wi nged, * 48,
Wi dgeon grass, *87
Short-bi l l ed, *89 * 49, *50, 52 Wi l d cel ery, *88
Sora, *3, * 89, *94 Ci nnamon, *50, *51 Wi l d mi l l et, * 88
Vi rgi ni a, *91 Common, *46, *47, Wi l d ri ce, *88
Yel l ow, 92 *50, 1 53 Woodcock, 98
Redheod, * 1 0, * 58, Green-winged, *46, Ameri can, 1 00,
*59, *60 *47, 48, * 50 * 1 01
1 60
ALEXANDER SPRUNT I V has been wi th t he
Nati onal Audubon Soci ety si nce I 952 and i s
now i t s Research Di rector. He has done fel d
work i n many parts of the United States and
i n the Cari bbean. He has an M. S. degree i n
Wi l dl ife Management from Vi rgi ni a Pol ytech­
ni c I nsti tute.
HERBERT S. ZI M, Ph. D. , outstandi ng authority
on sci ence educati on and formerl y Professor
of Educati on, Universi ty of I l l i noi s, i s wel l ­
known i n professi onal ci rcl es and to a wi de
readi ng publ i c. He i s co-author of the Gol den
Nat ure Gui des: Birds, Flowers, Insects, Stars,
Trees, Re
tiles and Am
hibians, Mammals,
Seashores, Fishes, Weather, Rocks and Min­
erals, Gamebirds, Fossils, and Zoology.
JAMES GORDON I RVI NG has exhi bited
pai nti ngs at the Ameri can Museum of Natural
History and the Nati onal Audubon Soci ety. I n
t h e Gol den Nature Gui de seri es he h as i l l us­
trated Mammals, Birds, Insects, Re
tiles and
hibians, Stars, Fishes, and Gamebirds.

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