Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
[hybrid - Mallard x Gadwall.]
ANAS BREWERI, Aud.
[hybrid - Anas platyrhynchos x strepera.]
The beautiful Duck from which I made the drawing copied on the plate before
you, was shot on Lake Barataria, in Louisiana, in February 1822. It was in
company with seven or eight Canvass-back Ducks. No other individuals of the
species were in sight at the time, and all my efforts to procure another have
The individual figured was a male; but I have some doubts whether it had
acquired the full beauty of its mature plumage, and I considered it at the time
as a bird of the preceding season.
In form and proportions this bird is very nearly allied to the Mallard,
from which it differs in having the bill considerably narrower, in wanting the
recurved feathers of the tail, in having the feet dull yellow in place of
orange-red, the speculum more green and duller, without the white bands of that
bird, and in the large patch of light red on the side of the head. It may
possibly be an accidental variety, or a hybrid between that bird and some other
species, perhaps the Gadwall, to which also it bears a great resemblance.
Bill nearly as long as the head, higher than broad at the base, depressed
and widened towards the end, rounded at the tip, the lamellae short and
numerous, the unguis obovate, curved, the nasal groove elliptical, the nostrils
Head of moderate size, oblong, compressed; neck rather long, and slender;
body full, depressed. Feet short, stout, placed behind the centre of the body;
legs bare a little above the joint; tarsus short, a little compressed,
anteriorly with small scutella, laterally and behind with reticulated angular
scales. Hind toe very small, with a narrow free membrane; third toe longest,
fourth a little shorter; claws small, arched, compressed, acute.
Plumage dense, soft, and elastic; of the hind head and neck short and
blended; of the other parts in general broad and rounded. Wings of moderate
length, acute; tail short, graduated.
Bill dull yellow, slightly tinged with green, dusky along the ridge. Iris
brown. Feet dull yellow, claws dusky, wells dull grey. Head and upper part of
the neck deep glossy green; but there is an elongated patch of pale
reddish-yellow, extending from the base of the bill over the cheek to two inches
and a quarter behind the eye, and meeting that of the other side on the chin;
the space immediately over and behind the eye light dull purple. A narrow ring
of pale yellowish-red on the middle of the neck; the lower part of the neck dull
brownish-red, the feathers with a transverse band of dusky, and edged with
paler. The upper parts are dull greyish-brown, transversely undulated with
dusky; the smaller wing-coverts without undulations, but each feather with a
dusky bar behind another of light dull yellow; first row of smaller coverts
tipped with black; primaries and their coverts, light brownish-grey; some of the
outer secondaries similar, the next five or six duck-green, the next light grey,
with a dusky patch toward the end. The rump and upper tail-coverts black, as
are the parts under the tail, excepting two longitudinal white bands;
tail-feathers light brownish-grey, edged with whitish. All the rest of the
lower parts are greyish-white, tinged with yellow, beautifully undulated with
dusky lines, on the middle of the breast these lines less numerous, and each
feather with a reddish-grey central streak.
Length to end of tail 23 inches, to end of claws 24; extent of wings 39;
bill along the ridge 2 1/2, along the edge of lower mandible 2 1/8; tarsus
1 1/8, middle toe 2, its claw 5/12; hind toe 3/8, its claw 1/8. Weight 2 lbs.
I have named this Duck after my friend THOMAS M. BREWER of Boston, as a
mark of the estimation in which I hold him as an accomplished ornithologist.
BREWER'S DUCK, Anas Breweri, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. iv. p. 302.
Male, 23, 39.
One specimen procured in Louisiana.