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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Common moorhen
Gallinula chloropusis is the scientific name for the common moorhen, found in many parts of Europe, Asia and parts of Africa. At first glance, the plumage looks black but the moorhen actually has dark brown feathers on its back with a blue/black head and belly. The moorhen has some white feathers as well on its sides, yellowish green legs and a red beak with a yellow tip. It is classed as omnivorous with water plants, seeds, worms and fish all on the menu.
The Rallidae family includes over one hundred different species.
Coots have black plumage and most of them also have white beaks, making them quite distinctive. The Eurasian coot also has a white forehead, while the species found in South America sports a yellow one. Coots can be found in most parts of North America, including Hawaii, much of South America, parts of Africa, Europe and Australia. All species belong to the Rallidae family.
Gallicrex cinerea, the watercock, is the only member of the Gallixrex genus and is native to south-eastern regions of Asia, including India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. With dark brown, nearly black, plumage and an orange to yellow coloured beak it bears a resemblance to the moorhen although the red on its face is more pronounced. It prefers a swampy habitat.
As the name indicates, this duck originated in eastern Asia with Japan, not China, having the largest population in the first quarter of the twenty-first century. The ducks have settled in other countries, though, with escapees from private collections particularly well established in the UK.
Other places where mandarins are found in the wild are Ireland, Berlin (Germany) and even the USA. In appearance, the drake resembles the Carolina duck (also known as the wood duck) to which it is related. The male mandarin is even more brightly coloured, though, with a red bill, white, red, purple, green and orange feathers.
The female is much more subdued, and is mainly brown and white.
5. Chestnut teal
This species of teal is found primarily in Australia, although some have been seen in New Zealand and New Guinea. The biggest populations are found in Tasmania and Victoria with others in south-western regions. The male, in particular, is distinctively coloured with chestnut feathers on its body and an iridescent green head. The female has duller brown feathers, which have a mottled appearance, and lack the coloured head feathers.
These teal live in wetlands and coastal regions and are omnivorous.
The Muscovy duck is a large breed native to the Americas, with an original range from Texas, through Mexico and into Uruguay and Argentina in South America. They are often kept domestically, mainly for their meat. Wild populations have spread from their original areas as far as the northern regions of the USA and into Canada.
The Muscovy is a good looking duck with a mix of white and black feathers. Originally, black was the dominant colour but domestic Muscovies tend to have more white. Their faces are bare red, similar to, but less prominent than, that of a turkey.
The coscoroba swan is native to South America, particularly the southern half of the continent. Like most swans, its plumage is mostly white, with some black tips, and the beak is red. It is the smallest swan species. It breeds in Chile, Argentina, Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands, heading a little further north in the winter, with Uruguay and southern parts of Brazil being as far north as it is commonly found.
The trumpeter is the largest member of the swan family by wingspan and length, although the mute swan is heavier. Its common name comes from its call, which is both loud and far carrying. It is a north American native found mostly on the western (Pacific) coast of the USA, Canada and into Alaska.
The plumage is white and trumpeter swans have a black bill with the black colouring extending as far as the eyes.
This South American swan is the largest of the waterfowl native to the continent. It is found in the far south, and also the Falkland Islands, during the breeding season, heading further north during the winter months to Paraguay, Uruguay and southern regions of Brazil.
It lives around fresh water close to rivers, swamps and lakes. It has an unmistakeable appearance, with its white plumage and, as you'd expect from its name, black feathers from the neck upwards into the head. The bill is grey with a distinctive red knob at the front of the head.
This large goose can be found across the northern parts of Europe and Asia, ranging from Scandinavia, UK, many mainland European countries and into China in the east during the breeding season. In the winter, they head further south into Mediterranean countries and northern Africa with Asian birds heading to India and Iran, among other countries.
As you'd expect from its name, this goose has primarily grey plumage, mottled with white and with white tail feathers. Its legs and feet are pink and the beak is more orange.
This goose is one most of us won't see in the wild as it lives primarily in Alaska during the winter before heading north to the Arctic for the breeding season. The emperor goose has greyish blue plumage, yellow to orange legs and feet and a black throat.
The rest of the head is white, as is the tail. The emperor goose prefers coastal regions and is sometimes called the beach goose because of this. Another common name is the painted goose, due to its appearance.
This European species of goose spends summers in the northern areas, with one population favouring Greenland and Iceland and another group preferring Svalbard, a group of Norwegian Islands in the Arctic Ocean. After breeding, and before winter sets in, the first group heads south to Britain, with a few reaching Ireland, while the others aim primarily for Denmark and the Netherlands. The RSPB website gives a figure of 360,000 birds migrating to the UK each winter.
The geese are medium sized, with pinkish grey plumage, darker brown heads, a pink, red or black bill and, unsurprisingly, pink legs and feet.