Mergini

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Sea ducks
Histrionicus histrionicus drake Barnegat.jpg
Harlequin duck, Histrionicus histrionicus (male)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Anatinae
Tribe: Mergini
Genera

Chendytes (extinct)
Shiriyanetta (extinct)
Polysticta
Somateria
Histrionicus
Camptorhynchus (extinct)
Melanitta
Clangula
Bucephala
Mergellus
Lophodytes
Mergus

The seaducks (Mergini) are a tribe of the duck subfamily of birds, the Anatinae. The taxonomy of this group has not been entirely worked out. Some authorities separate the entire group as their own subfamily, others remove some genera from the group, and keep others. Most species within this group spend their winters near coastal marine waters. Many species have developed specialized salt glands to allow them to tolerate salt water, but these are poorly developed in juveniles. Some of the species 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 forage by diving underwater, taking molluscs or crustaceans from the sea floor.

The Mergini take on the eclipse plumage during the late summer, and molt into their breeding plumage during the winter.

Species

There are twenty living species in ten extant genera:

References

  • SeaDucks.org - Science and Management Reference
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