“The Sea ducks belong to the Merginae subfamily. These are marine birds found in coastal (marine water) habitats. They are said to be diving ducks because of their diving quality; however, sea ducks can tolerate sea water because they have developed salt glands.
These bulky birds can range further inland during the migration and nesting season, regardless, drifting sightings are regularly recorded as well as possess special glands to help them tolerate saltwater without getting dehydrated”
The seaducks (Mergini) are a tribe of the duck subfamily of birds, the Anatinae. The taxonomy of this group is incomplete. Some authorities separate the group as a subfamily, others remove some genera from the group and keep others. Most species within the group spend their winters near coastal waters. Many species have developed specialized salt glands to allow them to tolerate saltwater but these are poorly developed in juveniles. Some of the species prefer riverine habitats. All but two of the 20 species in this group live in far northern latitudes.
Scientific classification of sea ducks
Tribe: Mergini. Rafinesque, 1815
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 and are often known as “sawbills”. Other seaducks forage by diving underwater, taking mollusks 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.
The sea ducks species make up the taxonomic tribe Mergini.
Merginae, form a subfamily of the waterfowl family of birds, Anatidae.
Tribe Mergini, or sea ducks, are a diverse assemblage of essentially marine-dwelling diving birds. They breed primarily in higher latitudes of Canada and Alaska. More than half of sea duck species are below long term averages, showing declines.
These diving marine birds are very different in reproductive strategy, behaviour, ecology, physiology, and biology from the more commonly recognized dabbler ducks. Management must carefully recognize and consider these critical differences to promote sustainability.
Most are long-lived birds exhibiting K-selected reproductive strategies and vulnerable behaviors, like site fidelity and tight rafting. This makes them susceptible to added mortality factors and localized depletion.
Sea ducks are the deepest diving Tribe of Anatidae using foot-propelled and/or wing propelled locomotion.
Merging use specialized bills to eat mollusks or crustaceans from the benthic ocean floor or
like Mergansers or Smew have serrated edges to their bills to help them grip fish.
Species Of Sea Ducks
Sea ducks species include:
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