Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America has been hailed as a classic since the first edition was published in 1942. A must-have for professional biologists, birders, waterfowl enthusiasts, and wildlife managers, this fully revised and updated edition provides definitive information on the continent's forty-six species, includes maps of both winter and breeding ranges, showcases stunning images by top waterfowl photographers, and retains the acclaimed artwork by Robert W. (Bob) Hines.
Originally authored by F. H. Kortright and later revised by Frank Bellrose, this latest edition, which has been meticulously revised and updated by renowned waterfowl biologist Guy Baldassarre, continues the legacy of esteemed authors. Each species account contains a synopsis and in-depth sections on:
- migration behavior
- population status
- breeding biology
- rearing of young
- recruitment and survival
- food habits and feeding ecology
- molts and plumages
- conservation and management
To facilitate identification, the species accounts also include detailed illustrations of the birds and their wings, stunning photographs, and helpful distribution maps. The two appendixes contain a map of important waterfowl areas in North America and illustrations of the various ducklings, goslings, and cygnets.
This edition of Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America consists of two volumes, printed in full color, and packaged in a slipcase, along with a CD-ROM containing references and additional maps.
"This latest revision has been carefully updated by Guy Baldassarre, a renowned waterfowl biologist who sadly died before seeing it in print. It is twice the size of the previous versions, reflecting the wealth of knowledge that has accumulated in the 35 years since the last edition. [...] This book was published for the Wildlife Management Institute, which has a strong pedigree in wildlife conservation for the purposes of hunting. Vast areas of land have been set aside in North America for waterfowl to use for breeding and wintering and much has been learnt from this over the years. While there are conservation messages throughout this book, I was surprised not to find chapters giving an overview about waterfowl as a whole, and perhaps more about habitat conservation and best practice for managing land for ducks, geese and swans. That aside, this will surely be yet another best-selling book, for those with or without a gun."
– Keith Betton, British Birds 108(4): 240–241
"RECOMMENDATION:A MUST have for anyone with an interest in the waterfowl of North America."
– Birdbooker Report
"Wow, this thing is huge! This is a two-volume set, housed in a slipcase. Each of the hardcover books is large and looks great. Its focus isn't identification (although it does cover that and has lots of photos and some great artwork), but does have just about anything you would want to know about this group of birds."
– Grant McCreary – The Birder's Library
"A readable, in-depth, and up-to-date discussion of the biology of every species known to breed in North America, 47 in all. We are delighted to add it to our library."
– BirdWatching Magazine
"Guy Baldassarre has hit the target. His remake of the Kortright/Bellrose classic provides good biological descriptions, wonderful photographs and illustrations, and easy-to-understand information about waterfowl. I would encourage every hunter and enthusiast to have these books as an educational guide to waterfowl and their needs."
– H. Dale Hall, CEO, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
"When, as an eleven-year-old in 1942, I read F. H. Kortright's first edition of this book, it altered the trajectory of my life. Every subsequent edition, including this latest update by Guy Baldassarre, has improved the landmark reference. I can't imagine that anyone interested in waterfowl or wetlands can live without this indispensable book."
– Paul A. Johnsgard, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
"Creating a brand-new version of such a timeless and previously revised classic is a risky venture indeed, but nobody could be better suited for this monumental task than Guy Baldassarre. He has created a stunning new classic, at once magnificent in its visual appeal and truly comprehensive in its scientific breadth and depth. Hats off to Guy for dedicating himself to this project with such obvious passion, patience, and skill. This book absolutely belongs on the shelf or coffee table of anyone who has ever marveled at waterfowl, whether through their binoculars or from inside the duck blind."
– John W. Fitzpatrick, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
"Advertised as 'revised and updated edition of the bestselling classic', this is more than a new edition. This landmark publication first became available in 1942 and, even then, was a thorough treatise on the 46 species that occur in North America. Guy Baldassarre, who sadly didn't live to see publication, has completely researched and re-written the entire two volumes, resulting in an up-to-date overview of those species, many of which are the same as occur on this side of the Atlantic.
The breadth covered is stunning, taking Mallard as the example the sections covered are: Introduction, Identification (at a glance, adult males, adult females, juveniles, ducklings, similar species, weights and measurements), Distribution (breeding, winter, migration), Migration Behaviour (moult migration), Habitat, Population Status, Breeding Biology (mating systems, sex ratio, site fidelity and territory, courtship displays, nest sites, clutch size and eggs, incubation and energetic costs, nesting chronology, nest success, brood parasitism, renesting, brood habitat and care, brood amalgamation, development), Recruitment and Survival, Food habits and Feeding Ecology (breeding, migration and winter), Moults and Plumages, Conservation and Management. These are covered in great detail in 51 pages of text, illustrated throughout with colour photos of relevant behaviours or plumages, and introduced by paintings by Robert W. (Bob) Hines.
A really useful reference for anyone interested by waterfowl and, despite being centres on North America, it contains a lot of relevant information for Europeans as well. Comes in a slip case, with additional CD-ROM"
- Su Gough, BTO book reviews
A Remembrance xvii
Basis For The Book xxvii
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 3
Fulvous Whistling-Duck 19
Mute Swan 32
Trumpeter Swan 53
Tundra Swan 75
Greater White-fronted Goose 92
Emperor Goose 115
Snow Goose (Lesser and Greater) 131
Ross’s Goose 175
Brant (Atlantic and Black) 192
Canada Goose / Cackling Goose 221
Muscovy Duck 263
Wood Duck 271
American Wigeon 318
American Black Duck 337
Mexican Duck 421
Mottled Duck 436
Blue-winged Teal 460
Cinnamon Teal 482
Northern Shoveler 496
Northern Pintail 514
American Green-winged Teal 545
SPECIES ACCOUNTS (continued)
Ring-necked Duck 626
Greater Scaup 647
Lesser Scaup 666
Steller’s Eider 696
Spectacled Eider 712
King Eider 728
Common Eider 745
Harlequin Duck 773
Surf Scoter 793
White-winged Scoter 809
Black Scoter 828
Long-tailed Duck 840
Common Goldeneye 887
Barrow’s Goldeneye 915
Hooded Merganser 935
Common Merganser 953
Red-breasted Merganser 969
Masked Duck 983
Ruddy Duck 990
Appendix A. Important Waterfowl Areas 1015
Appendix B. Ducklings, Goslings, and Cygnets 1019
Although public interest in waterfowl in the UK is considerable, it is put completely in the shade by the huge affection that people in North America feel for this bird family. For example, one US charity specialising in waterfowl conservation has around 600,000 members, and recently organised a dinner at which over $1.5 million was raised in just one evening! So any book on wildfowl is likely to attract a lot of interest. This book has been a best-seller since it first appeared in 1942. That edition was authored by Francis Kortright and later revised by Frank Bellrose in 1976 and 1980. Those three books sold over a million copies in total, making this the most popular book on waterfowl anywhere in the world.
This latest revision has been carefully updated by the Guy Baldassarre, a renowned waterfowl biologist who sadly died before seeing it in print. It is twice the size of the previous versions, reflecting the wealth of knowledge that has accumulated in the 35 years since the last edition.
All forty-six species breeding in North America are discussed in great detail. Taking Mallard as an example, the text for this widespread species is well over 20,000 words in length, while the restricted-range Masked Duck is covered in just 2500 words. Apart from the key information on identification and distribution, all major aspects of each species’ life are explored. These texts cover migration, habitat choice, population trends, breeding biology, recruitment and survival, feeding ecology, plus moults and plumage variations. For most species there is also a section on conservation and land management.
Colour maps show both winter and breeding ranges within North America, but not elsewhere. The book is illustrated by top waterfowl photographers, and the selection of images is pleasing – although because of the large number of pages these are somewhat swamped by the text. As in the last edition, each species is illustrated in a painting by Bob Hines. In addition to a static pose there are illustrations of the open wing – but not actually of the birds in flight.
Two appendices contain a map of important waterfowl areas in North America and three pages of colour illustrations of the various ducklings, goslings, and cygnets. The CD-ROM contains additional maps of the USA, Canada and Mexico, plus a bibliography of nearly 3,000 references. I like the fact that these can be word-searched easily allowing you to find what you want.
This book was published for the Wildlife Management Institute which has a strong pedigree in wildlife conservation for the purposes of hunting. Vast areas of land have been set aside in North America for waterfowl to use for breeding and wintering and much has been learned from this over the years. While there are conservation messages throughout this book, and I was surprised not to find chapters giving an overview about waterfowl as a whole, and perhaps more about habitat conservation and best practice for managing land for ducks, geese and swans. That aside, this will surely be yet another best-selling book for those with or without a gun.
Guy Baldassarre was a professor of wildlife ecology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse until his death in 2012. He is the coauthor of the textbook, Waterfowl Ecology and Management.