The Vertebrates Anatidae

Galloanserae: Anatidae

Abbreviated Dendrogram
Aves ├─Gruimorpha └─Galloanserae ├─Galliformes │ ├─Megapodidae │ └─┬─Numididae │ └─Phasianidae ├─Anseriformes │ ├─Anhimidae │ └─Anseres │ ├─Presbyornithidae │ └─Anatidae │ ├─Anserinae │ └─Anatinae │ ├─Anatini │ ├─Aythyini │ ├─Mergini │ └─Oxyurini └─Charadriomorpha


Taxa on this Page

  1. Anatidae
  2. Anatinae
  3. Anatini
  4. Anserinae
  5. Aythyini
  6. Mergini
  7. Oxyurini

AnasAnatidae: ducks, geese, swans, etc.)


Phylogeny: Anatoidea:: Cnemiornis + *: Anserinae + Anatinae.

Characters: bill lamellate, broad, flat, round at the tip in most species; premaxilla with posterior process under jugal (except Cereopsis) [W+97]; lacrimal completely fused to nasofrontal region [E97]; lacrimal, orbital process moderately long [L97*]; jugal process of maxilla ventral to maxillopalatines [E97]; quadrate with maxillary process inflated posterior to quadratojugal articulation [E97]; postorbital process of squamosal, ventral surface excavated [E97]; some groups have occipital fontanelles [E97]; palatines laterally concave [W+97]; palate with rostropterygoid articulation [E97]; mandible with deep groove on ventral surface of anterior part [E97]; recessus conicalis present [L97*] [O99]; thoracic vertebrae rarely with large lateral pleurocoels [E97]; some groups lack notarium [E97]; first synsacral vertebra with centrum markedly more laterally compressed than succeeding centra [E97]; sternum, coracoid facets short, deep and well-separated [H02]; sternum with median apical crest [H02]; scapula with acromion process pointed and protruding anteriorly [E97]; scapula, coracoid tubercle partially merged with humeral facet which projects proximally, creating bilobed appearance (see image at left) [H02]; coracoid with striated muscle scars on dorsal surface [E97]; Anatidae: proximal scapula coracoid, clavicular facet appear eroded [H02]; coracoid, clavicular  articulation invaded by shallow ventral sulcus [H02]; coracoid with procoracoid foramen absent [O99]; carpometacarpus with dorsal half of proximal trochlea slightly shorter than ventral half [E97]; ilium, dorsolateral cristae become indistinct anterior to postacetabular wings [L97*]; pubes shaft bends ventrally [L97*]; femoral head about 90° to femoral shaft (but some large-bodied forms with wider angle) [W+97]; tibiotarsus  with opening of extensor canal approximately midway between lateral & medial condyles at distal end (see image at supratendinal bridge) [E97]; tarsometatarsus with hallux fossa slight or absent [L97*]; tarsometatarsus with trochlea IV extending much farther distally than trochlea II [W+97*]; tarsometatarsus, distal vascular foramen at an angle so that dorsal opening is proximal & plantar opening is recessed [L97*]; sexual dimorphism common.

Notes: [1] The notation "[L97*]" indicates a synapomorphy based on the osteological dataset of [L97] run under PHYLIP with all characters unordered. [2] the notation [W+97*] indicates anatid synapomorphies found by Livezey, as discussed by Worthy et al. The latter authors generally disagree.

Image: (right) Anas from Florida Nature- Anatidae - (waterfowl).

Links: Animal Diversity Web: Anatidae Family; Waterfowl page; Google Directory - Science > Biology > Flora and Fauna > Animalia ...; Florida Nature- Anatidae - (waterfowl); Anatidae; Anatidae; Anatidae (Russian: also an extraordinary collection); Anatidae; Anatidae after Livezey, 1996; A Bibliographic Data Base of North American Waterfowl (Anatidae) ...; Anatidae - Wikipedia; Anatidae - Ducks, Geese & Swans (Family)APUS.RU | Семейство ·Утиные - Anatidae.     

References: Ericson (1997) [E97]; Hope (2002) [H02]; Livezey (1997) [L97]; Olson (1999) [O99]; Worthy et al. (1997) [W+97]. ATW031225.

Aves/ANSERIFORMES/anserinae.html">AnserAnserinae:  geese & swans) Anser, Branta, Chloephaga, Coscoroba, Cygnus, Dendrocygna


Phylogeny: Anatidae: Anatinae + *.

Links: Anatidae- Anserinae; Aves/ANSERIFORMES/anserinae.html">Anserinae; Foto-album- Anserinae; ????????? Russian); Systematic Biology 45(4) Abstracts; Untitled; anatidae, enten, gänse. ATW030221.

Anatinae:  ducks) Malacorhychus, Salvadorina 


Phylogeny: Anatidae: Anserinae + *: Anatini + Aythyini + Mergini + Oxyurini

Characters:  Bill moderate length, stout, straight, depressed toward the end, obtuse, covered with soft skin; bill without bordering rim; filter-feeding bill; upper mandible transversely convex, with the margins internally lamellate, the tip with a decurved horny broad unguis; lower mandible with the angle long and narrow, the crura slender, flattened, the edges internally lamellate; nares elliptical, open; head of moderate size; neck long or of moderate length, slender; body full; tail short, of twelve or more feathers; wings of moderate length, curved, acute, outer two quills longest; legs generally short, stout, with little of the tibia bare; legs placed posteriorly, as in swans, resulting in waddling gait; tarsus scaled; feet smaller than geese, with less dependence on running; toes four, first small; anterior three palmate; claws moderate, arched, compressed, obtuse;  plumage very full, dense, soft; tongue fleshy, with a median groove, lateral reversed papillae, laminae, or bristles, and a semicircular thin horny tip; esophagus narrow, slightly enlarged at the lower part of the neck; stomach a transversely elliptical gizzard, with lateral muscles strongly developed, the epithelium dense, with two concave finding surfaces; intestine long and wide; caeca long, cylindrical, contracted at the base; trachea various generally much enlarged at the bifurcation, without ventral laryngeal muscles, or only with the slips of the lateral muscles prolonged; males molt twice annually; generally pairs last only for mating season; nest generally on the ground; eggs numerous; young with stiff down, and able to walk and swim from birth; sterile hybrids among duck tribes are frequent when mixed populations are at high density.

Links: Anatidae- Anatinae Mikko's Phylogeny); subfamilia Anatinae; Aves/ANSERIFORMES/anatinae.html">Aves- Anseriformes - Entenvoegel German); Family XXXIX.--Anatinae. Ducks Best on the Web -- source of much of the foregoing description); Headquarters West Ltd.; Flying Diamond Ranch; Untitled; GEESE, SWANS & WHISTLING DUCKS OTHER DUCKS PAIR BOND- Life < 1 YR ... very interesting summary table); Anatinae - Wikipedia systematics); Anatinae systematics); Anatinae Spanish). ATW031024.

AnasAnatini: Dabbling ducks: mallards, widgeons, etc.) Aix, Amazonetta, Anas, Cairina, Lophonetta, Nettapus.


Phylogeny: Anatinae: Aythyini + Mergini + Oxyurini + *.

Characters: iridescent coloring on wing secondaries only; normally feed by reaching down with bill (not diving) to obtain plants and small invertebrates in very shallow water or even on land; freshwater surface feeders; .

Links: Anatidae-Anatinae- Anatini Mikko's Phylogeny); Dabbiling Ducks- Tribe Anatini plumage & behavior); Canards barboteurs (Tribu des Anatini) French -- behavior); Examining two standard assumptions of ancestral reconstructions- cite this paper for the unsurprising result that plumage color is not very useful in phylogenetic work); Comparing Molecular Evolution in Two Mitochondrial Protein Coding ... .. and this one for why mtDNA is possibly even less useful); Complete Publications--KP Johnson and many more papers, making this site Best on the Web); Patos de Río Portuguese); Ánade Friso (anas strepera).(Spanish species accounts); УТКИ Russian: basic taxonomy); Use of an Old Multipurpose Reservoir by Migrating and Wintering ... ecology & conservation). ATW030525.

Netta rufinaAythyini: diving or bay ducks, scaups, pochards) Aristonetta, Aythya, Marmaronetta, Metopiana, Netta


Phylogeny: Anatinae: Anatini + Mergini + Oxyurini + *.

Note: Historically, Tribe Aythyini included all of the non-dabbling ducks. Thus, older sources should be consulted with this nomenclature in mind.

Links: Aythyini; Anatidae- Anatinae- AythyiniDakotas Prairie Basin Wetlands; Ootkee (Russian); Kolbenenten (German); Bradley C. Livezey; MORPHOLOGY - by date (bibliography); Systematic Biology 48(4) Abstracts (more molecular muddles, but much more thoughtful than most); WIEM- Grazyce (Polish);   ATW030222.

Melanitta perspicillata Mergini: smew, merganser, sea ducks) Melanitta, Mergellus, Mergus, Somateria


Phylogeny: Anatinae: Anatini + Aythyini + Oxyurini + *.

Characters: heavy-bodied; relatively high aspect ratio wings with low surface area; legs placed far posteriorly, so walk poorly; arctic marginal marine habitat, also tundra and arctic forests; feed on shellfish and mollusks.

Links: Mergellus albellus; Smew (Mergellus albellus); Zwergsäger - Mergellus albellus; Mangoverde World Bird Guide Photo Page- Smew Mergellus albellus useful photo); Mergini; - Information on the Mergini Tribe commonly known as ... conservation site with little of scientific interest); Nordische Meeresenten I; Common Eider; Background; Systematic Biology 48(4) Abstracts. ATW030222.

OxyuraOxyurini: stiff-tailed ducks, malvasías, ruddy duck) Heteronetta, Nomonyx, Oxyura

Range: Caribbean, South America & Australia

Phylogeny: Anatinae: Anatini + Aythyini + Mergini + *.

Characters: stiff tail feathers angled upwards; legs set farthest back of all ducks & walk with great difficulty; feet large; nest parisitism very common.

Image: Oxyura jamaicensis from The Bismuth Cartridge Company of Van Nuys, California.

Links: Oxyurini; Anatidae- Anatinae- Oxyurini; Waterfowl; Waterfowl Identification Guide (image); Stiff-tailed Ducks- Tribe OxyuriniWLF 419 - Waterfowl and Wetland Ecology and Management Exam I SS ....         ATW040102

checked ATW031225