Wilson, Alexander, 1766-1813. / American ornithology; or The natural history of the birds of the United States
Species 19. Anas ferina? Red-headed duck, pp. -352
352 RED-HEADED DUCK. part of the breast black, spreading round to the back; belly white, becoming dusky towards the vent by closely marked un- dulating lines of black; back and scapulars bluish white, ren- dered gray by numerous transverse waving lines of black; les- ser wing coverts brownish ash; wing quills very pale slate, dusky at the tips; lower part of the back and sides under the wings brownish black, crossed with regular zig-zag lines of whi- tish; vent, rump, tail, and tail coverts black; legs and feet dark ash. The female has the upper part of the head dusky brown, rest of the head and part of the neck a light sooty brown; upper part of the breast ashy brown, broadly skirted with whitish; back dark ash, with little or no appearance of white pencilling; wings, bill, and feet nearly alike in both sexes. This Duck is sometimes met with in the rivers of North and South Carolina, and also in those of Jersey and New York; but always in fresh water, and usually at no great distance from the sea. Is most numerous in the waters of the Chesapeake; and with the connoisseurs in good eating, ranks next in excel- lence to the Canvas-back. Its usual weight is about a pound and three-quarters, avoirdupois. The Red-head leaves the bay and its tributary streams in March, and is not seen until late in October. The male of this species has a large flat bony labyrinth on the bottom of the windpipe, very much like that of the Canvas- back, but smaller; over one of its concave sides isgspread an ex- ceeding thin transparent skin, or membrane. The intestines are of great width, and measure six feet in length.
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