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Title: Merginae  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Merginae, Scaly-sided merganser, Brazilian merganser, Auckland merganser, Labrador duck
Collection: Bird Subfamilies, Mergansers, Merginae
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Sea ducks
Harlequin duck, Histrionicus histrionicus (male)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Merginae

Chendytes (extinct)
Camptorhynchus (extinct)

The seaducks (Merginae) form a subfamily 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. Many species have developed specialized salt glands to allow them to tolerate salt water, but these are absent from juveniles. 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 living species in ten extant genera.

Subfamily Merginae


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