Belongs within: Anatinae. The Mergini are a group of ducks primarily found in marine habitats. They are mostly found in temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere with the exception of the Brazilian merganser Mergus octosetaceus and the recently extinct New Zealand merganser M. australis. The mergansers of the genus Mergus have long, slender… Continue reading Mergini


Belongs within: Anatinae. Anas is the primary genus of the dipping or dabbling ducks. These ducks have short legs and a flat duck bill, and have only a simple claw (no lobe or flap) on the hind toe. Molecular analyses (e.g. Burleigh et al. 2015) have cast doubt on the monophyly of the genus as… Continue reading Anas


Belongs within: Phasiani.Contains: Arborophila, Coturnix, Alectoris, Francolinus, Polyplectron, Meleagridinae, Tetraoninae, Perdix, Syrmaticus, Phasianus, Lophura. The Phasianidae are the family of gamebirds including the pheasants, partridges and Old World quail. They are primarily terrestrial birds with stout bodies and bills and relatively short, rounded wings. Historically, this group has been divided between the larger ‘Phasianinae’ (pheasants and peafowl),… Continue reading Phasianidae


Belongs within: Galliformes. The Cracidae are a Neotropical family of gamebirds including the chachalacas, curassows and guans. Many cracids have heads with brightly coloured wattles or skin patches. The curassows of the genera Crax, Nothocrax, Pauxi and Mitu include the largest members of the family, reaching the size of a turkey. Curassows are sexually dimorphic,… Continue reading Cracidae


Belongs within: Phasianidae.Contains: Lagopus. The Tetraonidae are the grouse, a group of gamebirds found primarily in colder parts of Eurasia and North America. Grouse are distinguished from other gamebirds by the presence of feathers on the lower leg. Males of the prairie chickens Tympanuchus and the sage grouse Centrocercus have large inflatable sacs on the… Continue reading Tetraoninae


Belongs within: Phasianidae. The Meleagridinae, turkeys, are a small group of North American gamebirds with featherless heads and necks and a metallic gloss over much of the plumage. The common turkey Meleagris gallopavo is widely farmed as a source of meat. Males bear large red wattles on the head that become engorged with blood when… Continue reading Meleagridinae


Belongs within: Anseres.Contains: Anatinae, Anserinae. The family Anatidae contains the waterfowl: ducks, geese and swans. These are swimming birds with relatively short legs, front toes connected by a web, rather long necks and broad bills (Austin 1961). Recent phylogenies agree in placing the whistling ducks of the Dendrocygninae as the sister taxon to the remaining… Continue reading Anatidae


Belongs within: Anatidae.Contains: Mergini, Tadornini, Aythya, Anas. The Anatinae include the majority of the ducks, the generally smaller-bodied, shorter-necked waterfowl. As a clade, the Anatinae are distinguished by the presence of asymmetrical syringeal bullae (Sorenson et al. 1999). Numerous tribes have been recognised within the Anatinae but the nature and circumscription of these tribes has… Continue reading Anatinae


Belongs within: Anatinae. Aythya is a genus of diving ducks including pochards and scaups. Diving ducks have a short, heavy body, with large legs placed further back and wider apart than those of other ducks, a strong lobe or flap on the hind toe, and pale rather than metallic specula on the wings. They are… Continue reading Aythya


Belongs within: Anatidae.Contains: Branta, Anser. The Anserinae contains the swans and (the majority of the) geese. In general, Anserinae have longer necks than most other waterfowl, and more robust, less flattened bills. However, recent phylogenetic analyses (e.g. Burleigh et al. 2015) place the pink-eared duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus of Australia as a basal anserine despite its… Continue reading Anserinae