Publication Year: 2013
In this beautifully illustrated guide, two practicing wildlife biologists describe the life histories of forty-five species of ducks, geese, and swans that occur in Texas. For common species and those that breed in the state, each account begins with an interesting fact (such as, “Red-breasted Mergansers have been clocked at over 80 mph, the fastest recorded flight speed for a duck . . .”) and provides information on Texas distribution and harvest, population status, diet, range and habitats, reproduction, and appearance.
Exquisite photographs, informative distribution maps, and a helpful source list accompany the species descriptions, and the book offers a glossary and full bibliography for those who want to explore the literature further.
With the degradation and disappearance of the inland and coastal habitats that these birds depend upon, the natural history of these waterfowl species provides a vital reminder of the interconnectedness and crucial importance of all wetlands.
Birders, biologists, landowners, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and all those interested in the health and preservation of our coastal and inland wetland resources will enjoy and learn from this book.
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
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This paper meets the requirements of ansi/niso z39.48-1992 (Permanence of Paper).Texas waterfowl / William P. Johnson and Mark W. Lockwood. — 1st ed. p. cm. — (W. L. Moody Jr. natural history series ; no. 46)...
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We are very grateful to the many photographers who have graciously allowed us to use their photographs in this book. Those individuals are Trey Barron, Steve Bentsen, Tim Cooper, Greg Lasley, Ron Lockwood, Ray Matlack, Frank Rohwer, and Larry Semo. Their wonderful photographs are the result of extreme dedication and countless hours in the field. We are also thankful to VIREO (Visual Resources for Ornithology, Academy of Natural Sciences, Drexel University) for allowing us to use photographs held in their repository....
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We hope this book will provide birders, hunters, naturalists, and oth-ers interested in learning about Texas waterfowl with a useful natural history resource. As we set out to write an account for each species of Texas waterfowl, we attempted to highlight the most interesting aspects of the bird’s life history and, where possible, incorporate pertinent results from studies carried out in Texas. Comparable information was not available for all species, and the accounts vary in length and depth of coverage as a result. Longer ac-...
Abbreviations and Map Key
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Breeding: Texas is host to the largest number of breeding Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks in the United States. They are found in the South Texas Brush Country, Coastal Sand Plain, Coastal Prairies, Edwards Plateau, and Post Oak Savannah–Blackland Prairies. Occasional nesting occurs in the Rolling Plains and possibly Migration and Winter: Most Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks depart during August, ...
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Breeding: Fulvous Whistling-Ducks breed in the South Texas Brush Country, Coastal Sand Plain, and Coastal Prairies. Nesting has also been documented in the Migration and Winter: The Texas population is migratory; most are gone by No-vember. They are rare to locally common during winter within their breeding range. From 1999 to 2006, estimated US harvest (including Texas) of Fulvous Whistling-...
Greater White-fronted Goose
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...introduction: Carroll 1932; Bolen and Rylander 1983; Peris et al. 1998; Hohman and Lee 2001. texas distribution: Flickinger et al. 1977; Benson and Arnold 2003; Lockwood and Freeman 2004. texas harvest: Kruse 2007. population status: Flickinger et al. 1977; Lobpries 1987; Peris et al. 1998; Hohman and Lee 2001; Sauer et al. 2008. diet: Mugica Valdes 1993; Hohman et al. 1996; Hohman and Lee 2001. range and habitats: Meanley and Meanley 1959; Zwank et al. 1988; ...
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Migration: Migrant Snow Geese potentially occur throughout the state, but they are most common in the eastern two-thirds. Migrants appear in early October and Winter: Traditionally, Snow Geese wintered almost exclusively in coastal marshes. Their winter range did not expand into the agricultural regions of the Coastal Prai-ries until after the 1920s. They now regularly occur throughout the Coastal Prairies, ...
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...introduction: Bellrose 1980; Slattery and Alisauskas 2007. texas distribution: Hobaugh 1984; Ballard and Tacha 1995; Robertson and Slack 1995; Lockwood and Freeman 2004; USFWS 2008. texas harvest: Kruse 2007. longevity: Lutmerding and Love 2011. population status: Cooke et al. 1995; Abraham et al. 1996; Batt 1997; Mowbray et al. 2000; NAWMP 2004; Kruse et al. 2007; USFWS 2011. diet: Hobaugh 1984; Alisauskas et al. 1988; Alisauskas and Ankney 1992; Gauthi-...
Canada Goose and Cackling Goose
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...their bill. Compared to Lesser Snow Geese, their neck appears short, and their bill is small relative to their head. Blue-morph Ross’s Geese occur but are extremely rare (far less than 0.01 percent). Many authorities believe all blue-morph Ross’s Geese may be the result of past or recent hybridization with blue-morph Snow Geese. Ross’s Geese reach their peak weight during egg laying; during this time both males ...
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...averages 7.1 pounds (males), and the largest, Giant, averages 10.7 pounds (males). There is overlap in the weights of many subspecies, particularly among males and First winter: This plumage is largely identical to that of adults, except some first-winter geese may have a neck that is slightly brownish. They also have less contrast between the base of their neck and their body. That is, the line where their dark neck ...
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...and also in northern Greenland. They nest on the ground, either dispersed or in colonies. Nests are found in marshes and grassy flats above the tide line and on gravel bars. Nests are typically exposed. During winter, Black Brant are found in Izembek Lagoon in western Alaska and scattered along the Pacific coast from southeastern British Columbia to Baja California. One of the largest concentrations winters off ...
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Their numbers hit a modern high in 2005 with 34,803 swans. Their population trend Trumpeter Swans breed in Alaska and western Canada and locally in the moun-tain West, northern plains, and midwestern United States. Breeding pairs use fresh-water marshes, prairie wetlands, lakes, ponds, and rivers. They nest on the ground, in emergent vegetation (overwater nests), or in moist areas along wetland edges. They ...
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...whiter body plumage than first-winter Trumpeter Swans. In 2011 their population was 174,000. Since 2000 their numbers have fluctuated from year to year, but their This species was formerly known as Whistling Swan. The name was changed when that taxon was lumped with Bewick’s Swan (C. c. bewickii), which breed in Merrill 1878; Singley 1892; Limpert et al. 1987; Pulich 1988; Limpert and Earnst 1994; Drewien and ...
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...but their nesting season may coincide with the rainy season in more tropical areas. They add down to their nests but do not carry vegetation to the nest cavity. Eggs are laid at a rate of 1 per day, and only females incubate. Clutch size varies from 9 to 15 eggs. Their incubation period is about 30 days. Renesting has been documented. Muscovy Ducks are brownish black to black with conspicuous white patches on their ...
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...appearance and lose their long crest but retain their white throat patch. In females, this plumage is similar to their breeding plumage, but the sheen on their back and introduction: Fredrickson and Hansen 1983; Bellrose and Holm 1994. texas distribution: Bellrose and Holm 1994; Lockwood and Freeman 2004; Ransom and Frentress 2007; Whiting and Cornes 2009. texas harvest: Kruse 2007. longevity: Bellrose and Holm 1994; Lutmerding and ...
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...introduction: Moorman et al. 1991; Austin and Miller 1995; Jehl 2005. texas distribution: Hobaugh and Teer 1981; Pulich 1988; Seyffert 2001; White 2002; Ray et al. 2003; Lockwood and Freeman 2004; Baar et al. 2008; USFWS 2008. texas harvest: Kruse 2007. population status: NAWMP 2004; USFWS 2011. diet: Landers et al. 1976; Serie and Swanson 1976; Paulus 1982; LeSchack et al. 1997. range and habitats: Higgens 1977; Kantrud and Stewart 1977; Ruwaldt et ...
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Eurasian Wigeon (male). Photograph courtesy of G. Bartley/VIREO, taken January 17, 2007, Victoria, Breeding: Pairs are occasionally observed in early summer in the High Plains and in El Paso County; however, there is no evidence that they breed in Texas.Migration: American Wigeon migrate through all Texas counties. In the High Plains migrants arrive in early August, and their numbers peak in early November. Their ...
American Black Duck
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...eight to nine eggs. Incubating females spend approximately 88 percent of their time on the nest, and their incubation period is about 23–25 days. They are not known to Ducklings: Only females care for the young. They lead ducklings permanently away from the nest within 24 hours after they hatch. Females brood ducklings, lead them to food, and often lead them overland to larger, more permanent wetlands. Young are ...
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American Black Ducks are similar in size to Mallards. Both males and females have very dark bodies with lighter heads and necks. They have less buff edging on their body feathers than do Mottled Ducks; thus, they appear considerably darker. The American Black Duck population was estimated to number 545,000 in 2011. Their long-term population trend is declining, although their numbers are stable in ...
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...and Fredrickson 1981; Heitmeyer and Vohs 1984; Heitmeyer 1985; Whyte and Bolen 1985; Duebbert and Kantrud 1987; Frentress 1987; Weller 1988; Smith et al. 1989; Arnold et al. 1993; Ray and Hig-gins 1993; Johnson and Rohwer 2000; Drilling et al. 2002; Bogiatto and Karnegis 2006; Stafford et al. 2007; Baar et al. 2008. reproduction: Hochbaum 1944; Bjarvall 1968; Dzubin and Gallop 1972; Bellrose 1980; Talent et al. 1983; Greenwood et al. 1987, 1995; Heitmeyer 1988; Johnson and Grier 1988; ...
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...introduction: Aldrich and Baer 1970; USFWS 1978; McCracken et al. 2001. texas distribu-tion: Swepston 1979. population status: Rose and Scott 1997; Pérez-Arteaga et al. 2002. range and habitats: Lindsey 1946; Ohlendorf and Patton 1971; Nymeyer 1975; O’Brien 1975; Hubbard 1977; Bellrose 1980; Lockwood and Freeman 2004; Pérez-Arteaga and Gaston 2004. reproduction: Lindsey 1946; O’Brien 1975; Hubbard 1977; Swepston 1979. appearance: Huey 1961; Bellrose 1980; ...
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Breeding: Low numbers of Blue-winged Teal regularly nest in the Coastal Prairies and High Plains. Occasional nesting may occur in other areas of the state as well. In a four-year study conducted during the 1970s, brood abundance estimates in 12 High Plains counties ranged from 30 to 175 annually. They are the second most abundant breeding duck in the High Plains. In 1958, the year following Hurricane Beulah, ...
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Breeding: Adult males have steel-blue heads with a large white crescent between the bill and the eye. The steel-blue plumage of the head trails down to a tan body with dense black spotting. Males have a notable white patch on each side of their body, which separates their black rump from their tan sides. The body of females is mottled brown in appearance, and they have a dark eye-line. Males have a very ...
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...introduction: Stark 1978; Lokemoen and Sharp 1981; Gammonley 1996; Rohwer et al. 2002. texas distribution: Traweek 1978; Pulich 1988; Lockwood and Freeman 2004; Baar et al. 2008. popula-tion status: Gammonley 1996; Sauer et al. 2008. diet: Migoya and Baldassarre 1993; Hohman and Ankney 1994; Gammonley 1995, 1996. range and habitats: Gray and Schultze 1977; Bellrose 1980; Weller 1988; Smith et al. 1989; Gammonley 1996; Elphick and Oring 1998; Gammonley and ...
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Lokemoen 1991; Batt et al. 1992; Kantrud 1993; MacCluskie and Sedinger 1999; Wells-Berlin et al. Although nonmigratory, it may wander during the nonbreeding season. White-cheeked Pintails are not similar in appearance to Northern Pintails. Adult males are White-cheeked Pintail (male). Photograph by Mark W. Lockwood, November 6, 1999, Paradise Island, dark mottled brown. Their cheeks and upper neck are white, and they have a promi-...
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...dark mottled brown. Their cheeks and upper neck are white, and they have a promi-nent red mark on their bill. Adult females are mottled brown with whitish cheeks Louisiana coastal region are recovered in this area in later years.Breeding: There are Northern Pintail breeding records for at least nine High Plains counties. Adults are fairly common through June, and breeding may be more com-...
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...introduction: Hestbeck 1993. texas distribution: Hawkins 1945; Traweek 1978; Seyffert 2001; White 2002; Ray et al. 2003; Lockwood and Freeman 2004; Baar et al. 2008; USFWS 2008; Johnson et al. 2010. texas harvest: Kruse 2007. longevity: Bellrose and Holm 1994; Lutmerding and Love 2011. population status: Austin and Miller 1995; NAWMP 2004; USFWS 2011. diet: McMahan 1970; Krapu 1974; Baldassarre and Bolen 1984; Sheeley and Smith 1989; Cox and Afton 2000; Ballard ...
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...breasted Mergansers have been documented at over 80 mph, which is the fastest Breeding: There is one Green-winged Teal nesting record from the High Plains (Crosby County) and one from the Rolling Plains (Hutchinson County). Male-Garganey (male). Photograph by Mark W. Lockwood, April 30, 1994, Presidio, Presidio County, female pairs are somewhat common in the High Plains during May and June, and ...
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...back are gray. Each side of the rump has a cream-colored triangular patch. Females are mottled brown in appearance at all times of year. Both males and females have small, dark gray bills. Adult males and females wintering in the High Plains average Male Eurasian Teal differ slightly in appearance from male Green-winged Teal. Eurasian Teal have a horizontal white stripe separating their back and sides instead ...
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Males have a black bill, and females have a dark bill. Both sexes have wedge-shaped bills, and their overall head profile is wedge-shaped. At Catahoula Lake, Louisiana, adult males and females averaged 2.7 and 2.9 pounds, respectively.Nonbreeding: Males appear dull in their nonbreeding plumage. The nonbreeding plumage of adult females is similar in appearance to their breeding plumage....
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...rectly from the bill of the Ring-necked Ducks or chase them until they drop it.Breeding: Ring-necked Ducks do not nest in Texas, although they are occasionally Ring-necked Duck (male). Photograph by Trey Barron, February 15, 2009, Amarillo, Potter County, Migration: Ring-necked Ducks occur throughout Texas during migration. They ar-rive in the High Plains in early October. In northern portions of the Rolling Plains, ...
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...base of their neck. Their belly is white and their sides are gray; vertical white lines extend up from their belly and separate the breast and sides. Their rump and tail are blackish. Adult females are brownish with a dark brown back. Their crown is dark brown. The sides of their head are light brown or gray, becoming paler toward the Males have a bluish bill with a black tip. A broad white line separates the black ...
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Breeding: Adult males have a black head, neck, breast, rump, and tail. Their head has a round appearance and generally has greenish iridescence. Their back is pale gray and becomes darker toward the rump. Their sides are whitish and their belly is white. The head and neck of adult females typically vary from buff to dark brown but can even be black with a greenish sheen like those of males. They have a white area ...
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Breeding: Adult male Lesser Scaup have a glossy black head, neck, breast, rump, and tail. Their head peaks slightly toward the back of the crown. Their sides are whitish with varying amounts of gray. Their back is pale gray and grades to dark gray near the rump. Their belly is white. Adult females are dark brown in appearance except for a white area on the front of their head, around the bill. Their belly is white. Eye ...
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Cottam 1939; Cantin et al. 1974; Bellrose 1980; Schmutz et al. 1983; Gooders and Boyer 1986; Goudie and Ankney 1986; Cornish and Dickson 1997; Goudie et al. 2000; NAWMP 2004; Lockwood 2008.King Eider (first-winter male). Photograph by Steve Bentsen, May 6, 1998, Quintana, Brazoria County, King Eiders breed in the extreme arctic regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. In North America they averaged 575,000 annually from 1994 to 2003. Their ...
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King Eiders breed in the extreme arctic regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. In North America they averaged 575,000 annually from 1994 to 2003. Their King Eiders nest on the ground in wetland margins, meadows, shrubby areas, and barren hillsides. Their nests are often concealed by rocks or hummocks. They winter along the southern coast of Alaska, in southern Greenland, and along the east ...
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Cottam 1939; Hagar 1945; Gooders and Boyer 1986; Robertson and Goudie 1999; Smith et al. 2000; Esler et al. 2002; Lockwood and Freeman 2004; NAWMP 2004; Esler and Iverson 2010.real forests of Alaska and Canada; however, breeding is localized rather than wide-spread. There are roughly 600,000 Surf Scoters in North America. Their population is healthy but perhaps declining. They do not breed until they are two to three years ...
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...blue sheen. Their bill is multicolored and large; the front portion is edged in yellow and rapidly grades to orange and then red as it approaches the nostrils. The top one-third of their bill is black. The sides of the bill are pale blue to white, and there is a round black dot near the base. Males weigh about 2.3 pounds. Females are slightly Johnsgard 1975; Bellrose 1980; Vermeer 1981; Savard et al. 1998; Seyffert 2001; Sullivan et al. 2002; ...
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Females of all ages are brown, although adult females are darker brown. Females have faint white plumage near the base of their bill and on their cheeks, and the bill of females is grayish black. First-winter males are blackish. Adult males are also black but have a tear-shaped white area around their eye. Their bill is yellowish orange to-ward the front and sides and has a large black hump near the base. Some authorities ...
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...bill with a bright yellow, swollen base; the yellow area has a notable ridge. Males and Cottam 1939; Bellrose 1980; Vermeer and Bourne 1984; Gooders and Boyer 1986; Bordage and Savard 1995; Lockwood and Freeman 2004; NAWMP 2004; Eubanks et al. 2006.Black Scoter (female-type). Photograph courtesy of Glenn Bartley/VIREO, taken November 13, 2007, This species was formerly known as Oldsquaw. They have a circumpolar distri-...
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...white. Their bill is black with a wide orange band across the middle. Females are brown during winter but have a black crown and white face. Most males observed in Texas are first-year birds, which are similar in appearance to adults. However, the sides of their head and upper neck are brownish. Other plumages of Long-tailed Drury 1961; Alison 1975; Peterson and Ellarson 1977; Rofritz 1977; Bellrose 1980; Gooders and ...
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...males brood ducklings, will attempt to drive other ducks away from their young, and will also lead them across lakes or land in search of better foraging areas. The amal-gamation of broods is common; amalgamated broods are typically attended by only one female. Females abandon young when they are five to six weeks old. Ducklings Breeding: Adult males have a black head, hind neck, back, and rump. They have a ...
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...land. They nest in both natural cavities and nest boxes. They winter in bays and estu-aries along the east and west coasts of Canada and the northern United States. Small numbers also winter in the Great Lakes, and a few winter in the western mountain ranges of the United States, including northern New Mexico. Their winter diet is Both sexes look similar to Common Goldeneyes. Adult males have less white ...
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Goldeneyes, in contrast, have a round to oval white patch in that area. Male Barrow’s Goldeneyes also have a row of oblong white markings along their upper sides.in helping this once rare duck rebound, but they have also helped advance our under-standing of this species. Females nesting in boxes can be easily monitored compared Breeding: Hooded Mergansers are rare, but perhaps increasing, breeders in Texas. ...
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Breeding: Common Mergansers are not known to breed in Texas. There are a handful Migration and Winter: They are most common in the High Plains and Rolling Plains, where winter concentrations of several hundred to a few thousand some-times occur on reservoirs. They are locally common in the western Trans-Pecos and rare elsewhere. Fall migrants tend to arrive in mid-November. They begin departing ...
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...1994; Coupe and Cooke 1999; Mallory and Metz 1999. appearance: Palmer 1976b; Bellrose 1980; Breeding: There is a breeding record for Red-breasted Mergansers (two females with a brood) at Laguna Atascosa NWR in Cameron County. This is phenomenal, con-sidering this species primarily nests in boreal forests and arctic regions. Small num-Migration and Winter: Migrants occur in East Texas and along the coast. They are ...
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Breeding: Masked Ducks have been documented in the Coastal Prairies and Coastal Sand Plain and in the southeasternmost counties of the South Texas Brush Country. Sightings are irregular and rare. Successful nesting attempts have been documented in Chambers and Live Oak Counties. Breeding is suspected in six more counties, from Hidalgo and Cameron northeast to Jefferson. Nesting in Texas may occur from ...
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...stripes; one stripe is through the eye and the other is below the eye. Their belly is white. Their tail is long and brownish, and they often hold it in an upright position.Adult males have a blue bill, and females have a slaty gray bill. Males and females Nonbreeding: In both sexes this plumage is similar to the breeding plumage of adult introduction: Johnsgard and Hagemeyer 1969. texas distribution: Johnsgard and Hagemeyer ...
Scientific Names of Animals and Plants Occurring in the Text
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Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 63 color photos. 38 maps. Index. Bib.
Publication Year: 2013
Edition: Nature Guide
Series Title: W. L. Moody Jr. Natural History Series