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Merginae

Seaducks
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Anseriformes
Family†:Anatidae
Genera
Polysticta
Somateria
Histrionicus
Camptorhynchus
Melanitta
Clangula
Bucephala
Mergellus
Lophodytes
Mergus
† For other ducks,
see also: Anatidae

The seaducks, Merginae, form a sub-family of the duck, goose and swan family of birds, Anatidae.

As the name implies, most but not all, are essentially marine outside the breeding season. Some of the mergansers prefer riverine habitats.

All but two of the 20 species in this group occupy habitats in far northern latitudes.

The fish-eating members of this group, such as the mergansers and Smew, have serrated edges to their bills to help them grip their prey. These are therefore often known as "sawbills".

Other seaducks take molluscs or crustaceans from the sea floor

There are twenty species in ten genera.

Genus Polysticta

Genus Somateria, the eiders. These are large marine ducks The drakes have body plumage showing varying amounts of black and white, and distinctive head patterns.Females are brown.

Genus Histrionicus

Genus Camptorhynchus

Genus Melanitta, the scoters. These are stocky marine ducks. The drakes are mostly black aand have swollen bills. Females are brown.

Genus Clangula

Genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. These are less marine than some species in this group, and will winter on fresh water. Drakes have white bodies with black backs and distinctive head markings. Females are grey with chestnut heads.

Genus Mergellus

  • Smew Mergellus albellus

Genus Lophodytes

Genus Mergus, the typical mergansers. These are the least marine of this group, only Red-breasted being common on the sea. These are large saw-billed ducks which dive for fish.



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