Waterfowl

Waterfowl is a general term used for members of the family Anatidae, composed of closely allied species commonly known as ducks, geese and swans.

Waterfowl
Mallard (top left), northern pintail (centre top), green-winged teal (top right), whistling swan (lower right) and Canada goose (artwork by Claire Tremblay).
Mute Swans
The mute swan, native to Eurasia, has become established as a breeding bird in Canada (Corel Professional Photos).
Snow Geese
Snow Geese at Cap Tourmente. Credit: Luc-Antoine Couturier, Quebec City Tourism
Duck, Wood
Wood ducks nest in holes in trees, often near water (Corel Professional Photos).
Great Blue Heron
The great blue heron, the largest and most common heron in Canada, stands over 1 m tall (photo by Brian M. Wolitski).
Waterfowl is a general term used for members of the family Anatidae, composed of closely allied species commonly known as ducks, geese and swans. Scientists divide the family into 3 subfamilies, 2 of which are found in North America. The third, the primitive Australian Anseranatinae, contains the magpie geese (Anseranas semipalmata), which are not true geese.

Waterfowl have worldwide distribution and contain flightless species as well as others capable of long migrations. Some species, eg, northern pintail (Anas acuta), have very wide distribution; others are restricted to a few ponds on remote islands. Three species of swans, 5 of geese and 29 of ducks breed in Canada.

Waterfowl range in size from pygmy geese (Nettapus ssp.), averaging 300 g when fully grown, to North American trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator), exceeding 13 kg and having a wingspread of 250 cm.

In late summer as many as 80-100 million waterfowl are found in North America. Unfortunately, one duck species native to eastern Canada, the Labrador duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius), is now extinct.