Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Let's look a little deeper at the waterfowl (waterbird) line:
This is what we have to this point:

WATERFOWL (Anatidae)

  • Pterosaur --->
  • A Dromaeosaurid subgroup --> 
  • An Enantiornithes waterbird subgroup --> 
  • Presbyornithids--> 
  • Modern Anseriformes (eg. Duck, Geese , Swan)


Presbyornithidae were a family of waterbirds with an apparently global distribution that lived until the Earliest Oligocene, but are now extinct. Initially, they were believed to present a mix of characters shown by waterbirds,shorebirds and flamingos and were used to argue for an evolutionary relationship between these groups (Feduccia 1976), but they are now generally accepted to be "wading ducks", the sister taxon [actually the ancestor] of the Anatidae, and thus essentially modern waterbirds. They were generally long-legged, long-necked birds, standing around one meter high, with the body of a duck, feet similar to a wader but webbed, and a flat duck-like bill adapted for filter feeding.  Apparently, at least some species were very social birds that lived in large flocks and nested in colonies.

Presbyornis is an extinct genus of anseriform bird. It contains two unequivocally accepted species; the well-known P. pervetus and the much lesser-known P. isoniP. pervetus was approximately the size and shape of a goose, but with longer legs; P. isoni, known from a few bones, was much larger, more than swan-sized. Other fossils, more doubtfully assigned to this genus, are also known.
Judging from numerous fossil findings, Presbyornis is presumed to have lived in colonies around shallow lakes. Its broad, flat bill was used to filter food (small plants and animals) from the water, in the manner of today's dabbling ducks.[3]


  1. In regards to this:
    "Initially, they were believed to present a mix of characters shown by waterbirds, shorebirds and flamingos and were used to argue for an evolutionary relationship between these groups"

    The term water bird or waterbird is used to refer to birds that live on or around water. Some definitions apply the term especially to birds in freshwater habitats, though others make no distinction from birds that inhabit marine environments. In addition, some water birds are more terrestrial or aquatic than others, and their adaptations will vary depending on their environment. These adaptations include webbed feet, bills and legs adapted to feed in water, and the ability to dive from the surface or the air to catch prey in water.

    Waders, called shorebirds in North America (where "wader" is used to refer to long-legged wading birds such as storks and herons), are members of the order Charadriiformes, excluding the more marine web-footed seabird groups.

    Seabirds (also known as marine birds) are birds that have adapted to life within the marine environment. While seabirds vary greatly in lifestyle, behaviour and physiology, they often exhibit striking convergent evolution, as the same environmental problems and feeding niches have resulted in similar adaptations. The first seabirds evolved in the Cretaceous period, and modern seabird families emerged in the Paleogene.


    Flamingos or flamingoes[1] ( pronunciation (help·info)) are gregarious wading birds .."

  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatidae
    "Anatidae is the biological family of birds that includes ducks, geese and swans. The family has a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring on all the world's continents except Antarctica and on most of the world's islands and island groups. These are birds that are adapted through evolution for swimming, floating on the water surface, and in some cases diving in at least shallow water.

  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterfowl
    "Waterfowl are certain wildfowl of the order Anseriformes, especially members of the family Anatidae, which includes ducks, geese, and swans.
    Some definitions of the term 'waterfowl' include the saltwater shorebirds or waders, gulls, pelicans, and herons, as well as seabirds such as the albatross, but 'fowl' especially refers to birds used by humans for game"

  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterbird
    "Some examples of water birds are:
    Seabirds (marine birds)
    Shorebirds (waders, order Charadriiformes)
    Anseriformes (ducks, geese, swans, magpie geese, screamers)
    Grebes (order Podicipediformes)
    Loons (order Gaviiformes)
    Ciconiiformes (storks, herons, egrets, ibises, spoonbills and others)
    Pelecaniformes (pelicans and others)
    Flamingos (order Phoenicopteriformes)
    Some members of the order Gruiformes (including cranes and rails, crakes, coots and moorhens)
    Kingfishers (mainly the water kingfishers, sometimes the river kingfishers, and rarely the tree kingfishers)"

  5. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/aquatic+bird
    "aquatic bird - wading and swimming and diving birds of either fresh or salt water"