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Hadrornis

A Hadrornis laetus herd.

Systematic:
Aves (Bird), Anseriformes (ducks group, geese, swans, ect.), Anatidae (ducks group).

Etymology: "Hadros" for robust, "ornis" for bird, "laetus" for colored.

Cousin of the XXI century: Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), a migratory duck species widespread throughout the temperate and subtropical regions. The male sports a bright green plumage (hence the name) on the head during the breeding season. The female is more or less dark beige.

Height: 2.30 meters in males and 2 meters in females.

Distribution: This species living on coasts and in wetlands belongs to a Eurafrican genus also present in the forests and deserts.

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Hadrornis laetus: Male (to left) and female (to right).

Morphology: This big duck has lost its wings and webs. Its sturdy legs are armed with powerful claws. The neck is long and supports a massive head. The beak is flat, useful when grazing on algae from the foreshore. The male, very territorial, features a frontal crest and particularly colorful filamentous feathers during the breeding season.

Ecology and Ethology: The species is usually gregarious except during the breeding season. To woo females, the males are fighting with their frontal crests. During these competitive games, other males sometimes benefit to mate with females. The male is monogamous, but changes partners each season as his current cousin. It nests in coastal wetlands (between the roots of Nemione hyperhalinus), often in the same place every year. Young have a beige duvet, as with adult females. They quickly reach their adult size. Predators include Tyrannornis.

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