Edwards, George, 1694-1773. / A natural history of birds, most of which have not been figured or described, and others very little known, from obscure or too brief descriptions without figures, or from figures very ill designed
The great black and white duck, pp. 98-[Plate] 98 ff.
( 98 I) The Great BL A C K and WHITE D UC K. "Fr H I S Bird is one of the largefi of the Duck Kind; the Bill is represented of its natural T Bignefs in the lower Part of the Print. I take it to be the Eider or fofl-feather'd Duck of JIorinius, and the St. Cuthbert Duck of the Farn Iflands, both colleated by Willoughby, and in- ferttd in his Ornithology, P. 362. The Male Bird, represented flanding, hath the Bill not fb much compreffed as is common in Ducks, it is of a blackifh Colour, and indented on the Edges of both upper and lower Mandi- bles where they meet, except at the Point; the Tip of the upper Mandible overhangs the lower a little; the Bafis of the Bill enters the Forehead on each Side with two remarkable fharp An- gles, and the Feathers on each Side of the Head extend themselves in acute Angles into the Bill juft beneath the Nofirils, as the Figures more fully exprefs: There paffes from the Forehead to the hind Part of the Head two broad Bars of Black, in which Spaces the Eyes are placed; there is a white Space on the Top of the Head, dividing the black Marks, almoff to tile Bill; the Remainder of the Head, all the Neck, Back, and lefter covert Feathers of the Wings, are White. On the hind Part of the Neck, juft below the Ends of the black Marks, the Fea- thers are of a light Green-colour, foftened into the White, and appear more like an accidental Stain, than any natural Mark; and I fhould have taken it for fiuch, had not different Subjedls confirmed it natural: All the Quills are Black or Dusky, except three or four of the innermoft next the Back, which are White; the firft Row of covert Feathers next above the Quills are al- fo Dufky ; the inner Coverts of the Wings are White; the Tail is of a dirty Black-colour; the Belly, Sides under the Wings, and covert Feathers both above and beneath the Tail, are of a deep Black-colour; on the Breaft the Black and White do nor break of fuddenly, but are intermixed a little into each other: The Legs and Feet are of a very dirty Brown or Blackifh Colour, having four Toes ftanding after the ufual Manner, and webb'd as in the common Duck; the two inner and the two hind Toes have lateral Fins or Webs, as is common to this Genus ; the Claws are Black. The Female, reprefented by the diflant Flying Bird in this Plate, in Shape, Size, Cclour of the Bill, and Feet, agrees exaftly with the Male; but the Plumage is quite different, it being all over of a Brown-colour, mixed with tranfverfe Lines of Black, except the Tail and greater Wing Feathers, which were of a Dflky-colour. Thefe Birds hatch their Young on the Coaft of Norway in the Month of Yuze; this I difcovered by buying of a Fifhierman in Norway at the latter End of May, 1718, a Hen of this Kind, which I gave to a Perfon to prepare for roaft- ing, who brought me out of her an Egg fully formed, larger than a Duck Egg, and of a green-> er Colour than is common in tame Duck's Eggs. Thefe Birds were brought preserved dry from Greenland, and are depofited at Sir Hans Sloane's at Cbelfea. I believe they are found on all the Coafts and Iflands of the Northern Seas. I find this Bird mentioned in the Hiftory of the Iflands of Farro tranflated from the Danijh Lan- guage; which Tra& being fcarce, I Sball transcribe therefrom what relates to this Bird, that its Hiftory may be more full. " The Eider Cock is Brown as the Hen when he is young, but " when he is old he groweth almoft White, and is called Eider-Blink: From this Fowl is ga- " thered Eider Down, which the Eider plucks off from its Breaft, and layeth in its Neft about the Eggs, when it hatcheth them, and when they are come out, and are fled away with their Dam, this Down is taken up from the Neft, being then full of Mofs and Straw, of "which it is cleanfed, and dried. The Down which is plucked off at other Times from the Eider is good for nothing, for it is fat, and rotteth." As I find much wanting in former Deferiptions of thefe Birds to make them perfeat, and no Figures to enlighten them, I hope this Labour will not be flighted by the Inquifitive and Cu- rious. I take it to be a Sea Duck, frequenting only Salt-Waters.
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