Douglas' duck

Manuherikia douglasi Worthy, Tennyson, Hand & Scofield, 2008

Order: Anseriformes

Family: Anatidae

New Zealand status: Endemic

Conservation status: Extinct

Other names: Douglas duck, Douglas's duck

 
 
 
Douglas' duck. Holotype (humerus). Specimen registration number S.042878, Te Papa. St Bathans. Image © Te Papa See Te Papa website: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/Object/691172

Douglas' duck. Holotype (humerus). Specimen registration number S.042878, Te Papa. St Bathans. Image © Te Papa See Te Papa website: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/Object/691172

Duck bones are the most common fossil bones in the St Bathans Fauna, with most of them referable to three species in the endemic genus Manuherikia. The genus is named after the region in central Otago, and the name is also used for the geological formation from which the fossils are derived. Manuherikia is placed in the subfamily Oxyurinae (stiff-tailed ducks).

The St Bathans Fauna waterfowl species (five ducks, a shelduck and an unnamed goose)  have mainly been defined based on the size and form of their humeri (upper wing bones). Douglas’ duck was the largest member of its genus (humerus 82 mm long, compared to 70-78 mm for Manuherikia duck), but was smaller than Johnstones’ duck (Dunstanetta johnstoneorum).

Douglas’ duck was described from a single humerus and four ulnae considered likely to be from the same species, all from 19-16 million-year-old (Early Miocene) lake-bed deposits near the Manuherikia River, St Bathans, central Otago. The holotype (NMNZ S.42878, a complete, repaired right humerus), and the four ulnae are held at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

The species is named after geologist Barry Douglas, who was the first to find fossil bird bones in the Manuherikia Group sediments.

There are no stiff-tailed ducks remaining in the New Zealand fauna, but three species in three genera (Malacorhynchus, Oxyura, Biziura) became extinct following human contact.

Weblinks

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/fossils/6/1

References

Worthy, T.H.; Lee, M.S.Y. 2008. Affinities of Miocene waterfowl (Anatidae: Manukerikia, Dunstanetta and Miotadorna) from the St Bathans Fauna, New Zealand. Palaeontology 51: 677-708.

Worthy, T.H.; Tennyson, A.J.D.; Hand, S.J.; Scofield, R.P. 2008. A new species of the diving duck Manuherikia and evidence for geese (Aves: Anatidae: Anserinae) in the St Bathans Fauna (Early Miocene), New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 38: 97-114.

Worthy, T.H.; Tennyson, A.J.D.; Jones, C.; McNamara, J.A.; Douglas, B.J. 2007. Miocene waterfowl and other birds from central Otago, New Zealand. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 5: 1-39.

Recommended citation

Miskelly, C.M. 2013. Douglas’ duck. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz

Douglas' duck

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