|Falkland steamer duck, Tachyeres brachypterus|
The steamer ducks are a genus (Tachyeres) of ducks in the family Anatidae. All of the four species occur at the southern cone of South America in Chile and Argentina, and all except the flying steamer duck are flightless; even this one species capable of flight rarely takes to the air. The genus name Tachyeres, "having fast oars" or "fast rower", comes from Ancient Greek ταχυ- "fast" + ἐρέσσω "I row (as with oars)". The common name "steamer ducks" arose because, when swimming fast, they flap their wings into the water as well as using their feet, creating an effect like a paddle steamer. They can be aggressive and are capable of chasing off predators like petrels.
They are usually placed in the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae. However, mtDNA sequence analyses of the cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 genes indicate that Tachyeres rather belongs in a distinct clade of aberrant South American dabbling ducks, which also includes the Brazilian, the crested, and the bronze-winged ducks.
There are four species:
- Flying steamer duck Tachyeres patachonicus
- Fuegian steamer duck Tachyeres pteneres
- Chubut steamer duck Tachyeres leucocephalus
- Falkland steamer duck Tachyeres brachypterus
The Chubut steamer duck was only described in 1981.
- Livezey, Bradley C.; Humphrey, Philip Strong (1992). Taxonomy and Identification of Steamer-Ducks (Anatidae: Tachyeres). Monograph of the Museum of Natural History, the University of Kansas. No. 8. Lawrence, Kansas: Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas. ISBN 0893380423.
- Johnson, Kevin P.; Sorenson, Michael D. (1999). "Phylogeny and biogeography of dabbling ducks (genus Anas): a comparison of molecular and morphological evidence" (PDF). Auk 116 (3): 792–805. doi:10.2307/4089339.
- Media related to Tachyeres at Wikimedia Commons
- Absurd Creature of the Week: The Vicious Duck That Beats the Crap Out of Anything That Moves, Wired, 10.03.14, article based on: Nuechterlein, G. and Storer, R. (1985) Aggressive Behavior and Interspecific Killing by Flying Steamer-Ducks in Argentina. The Condor. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 87-91
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