Flightless steamer ducks Tachyeres pteneres, photographed by Nick Athanas.

Belongs within: Anatidae.
Contains: Mergini, Tadornini, Aythya, Anas.

The Anatinae include the majority of the ducks, the generally smaller-bodied, shorter-necked waterfowl. As a clade, the Anatinae are distinguished by the presence of asymmetrical syringeal bullae (Sorenson et al. 1999). Numerous tribes have been recognised within the Anatinae but the nature and circumscription of these tribes has often differed between classifications.

The dipping ducks of the tribe Anatini include the relatives of the type genus Anas. They have a simple claw on the hind toe without an associated lobe or flap and often have a patch of iridescent metallic feathers (the speculum) on the wing. Dipping ducks typically feed in shallow waters by tipping the body vertically with the tail directed upwards above the water. The diving ducks of the tribe Aythyini have a short, heavy body with large, widely separated legs and a strong lobe or flap on the hind toe, and commonly dive underwater to feed.

The tree ducks of the tribe Cairinini are so-called for their habit of nesting in hollows and roosting in trees; membership of this tribe has been particularly inconsistent but definite members include the muscovy duck Cairina moschata, mandarin duck Aix galericulata and wood duck Aix sponsa. Other ducks historically included in the Cairinini, such as the knob-billed duck Sarkidiornis melanotos and white-winged duck Asarcornis scutellata, have been placed separately by molecular phylogenetic analyses.

See also: The Hawaiian superducks.

<==Anatinae [Boschinae, Dafilinae, Marecinae, Merganettidae, Querquedulinae, Sibirionettinae, Spatulinae]
    |  i. s.: Salvadorina waigiuensis JT12
    |--Stictonetta Reichenbach 1853 JT12, B94 [Stictonettinae, Stictonettini]
    |    `--S. naevosa (Gould 1840) [=Anas naevosa] WS48
    `--+--Merganetta Gould 1842 BKB15, B94 [Merganettinae, Merganettini]
       |    `--M. armata BKB15
       `--+--+--Mergini BKB15
          |  `--+--Tadornini BKB15
          |     `--Cairinini [Cairininae] CS77
          |          |--Cairina Flemming 1822 BKB15, B94
          |          |    `--C. moschata (Linnaeus 1758) [=Anas moschata] CC10
          |          `--Aix Boie 1828 BKB15, B94 [incl. Dendronessa Wagler 1832 M02; Aiginae]
          |               |--A. galericulata (Linnaeus 1758) CC10 (see below for synonymy)
          |               `--A. sponsa (Linnaeus 1758) [=Anas sponsa, Aex (l. c.) sponsa] CC10
          `--+--+--Chenonetta Brandt 1836 BKB15, CC10 [incl. Euryanas Oliver 1930 CC10; Chenonettinae]
             |  |    |--C. jubata (Latham 1802) CC10 (see below for synonymy)
             |  |    `--C. finschi (van Beneden 1875) (see below for synonymy) CC10
             |  `--+--Hymenolaimus Gray 1843 BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
             |     |    `--*H. malacorhynchos (Gmelin 1789) (see below for synonymy) CC10
             |     `--Callonetta Delacour 1936 BKB15, B94 [Callonettinae]
             |          `--C. leucophrys BKB15
             `--+--Aythyini [Aythinini, Aythyinae, Fuligulinae, Marilinae, Nyrocinae] SC99
                |    |  i. s.: Rhodonessa Reichenbach 1853 CS77, B94 [Rhodonessinae]
                |    |           `--R. caryophyllacea JT12
                |    |--+--Marmaronetta angustirostris (Ménétries 1832) BKB15, CS77 [=Anas angustirostris CS77]
                |    |  `--+--Pteronetta hartlaubii BKB15
                |    |     `--Cyanochen Bonaparte 1856 BKB15, B94 [Cyanocheninae]
                |    |          `--C. cyanopterus BKB15
                |    `--+--Asarcornis scutellata SC99 [=Cairina scutulata BKB15]
                |       `--Netta Kaup 1829 BKB15, M02
                |            |  i. s.: N. erythrophthalma JT12
                |            |--N. rufina (Pallas 1773) BKB15, M02 [=Anas rufina M02]
                |            `--+--N. peposaca BKB15
                |               `--Aythya BKB15
                `--+--Plectropterini SC99
                   |    |--Plectropterus Stephen 1824 [Plectropterinae] B94
                   |    |    `--P. gambensis (Linnaeus 1766) CS77
                   |    |         |--P. g. gambensis RN72
                   |    |         `--P. g. niger RN72
                   |    `--Sarkidiornis Eyton 1838 BKB15, B94 [Sarkidiornithinae]
                   |         `--S. melanotos BKB15 [=Anas melanota S66; incl. Sarcidiornis africana S66]
                   |              |--S. m. melanotos RN72
                   |              `--S. m. carunculatus RN72
                   `--Anatini SC99
                        |  i. s.: Pachyanas Oliver 1955 CC10
                        |             `--*P. chathamica Oliver 1955 CC10
                        |         Matanas Worthy, Tennyson et al. 2007 CC10
                        |           `--*M. enrighti Worthy, Tennyson et al. 2007 CC10
                        |--Anas BKB15
                        `--+--+--Lophonetta specularoides BKB15
                           |  `--+--Tachyeres Owen 1875 BKB15, B94 (see below for synonymy)
                           |     |    |--+--T. brachypterus BKB15
                           |     |    |  `--T. pteneres BKB15
                           |     |    `--+--T. leucocephalus BKB15
                           |     |       `--T. patachonicus BKB15
                           |     `--+--Speculanas specularis BKB15
                           |        `--Amazonetta von Boetticher 1929 SC99, B94 [Amazonettinae]
                           |             `--A. brasiliensis BKB15
                           |                  |--A. b. brasiliensis RN72
                           |                  `--A. b. ipecutiri RN72
                           `--+--‘Anas’ formosa Georgi 1775 BKB15, CS77
                              `--+--+--‘Anas’ puna BKB15 [=A. versicolor puna RN72]
                                 |  `--‘Anas’ versicolor BKB15
                                 |       |--A. v. versicolor RN72
                                 |       `--A. v. fretensis RN72
                                 `--+--Querquedula Stephens in Shaw 1824 CC10
                                    |    |--*Q. querquedula (Linnaeus 1758) CC10, M02 [=Anas querquedula BKB15]
                                    |    `--Q. cyanoptera PB27
                                    `--+--‘Anas’ hottentota BKB15
                                       `--+--‘Anas’ platalea BKB15
                                          `--+--+--‘Anas’ cyanoptera BKB15
                                             |  |    |--A. c. cyanoptera RN72
                                             |  |    |--A. c. borreroi RN72
                                             |  |    |--A. c. orinomus RN72
                                             |  |    |--A. c. septentrionalium RN72
                                             |  |    `--A. c. tropica RN72
                                             |  `--‘Anas’ discors Linnaeus 1766 BKB15, CS77 (see below for synonymy)
                                             `--+--‘Anas’ smithii BKB15
                                                `--Spatula Boie 1822 (see below for synonymy) CC10
                                                     |--*S. clypeata (Linnaeus 1758) CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                                                     `--S. rhynchotis (Latham 1802) CC10 (see below for synonymy)

Inorganic: Anas clypeata minilorientalis Okamura 1987 O87

Aix galericulata (Linnaeus 1758) CC10 [=Anas galericulata CC10, Aex galericulata M01, Dendronessa galericulata M02]

‘Anas’ discors Linnaeus 1766 BKB15, CS77 [=Querquedula discors S18; incl. A. discors orphana Stewart & Aldrich 1956 CS77]

Chenonetta finschi (van Beneden 1875) [=Anas finschi, *Euryanas finschi, Euryanus (l. c.) finschi] CC10

Chenonetta jubata (Latham 1802) CC10 [=Anas jubata CC10, Bernicla jubata WH02; incl. Chenonetta jubata alexanderi Mathews 1916 CC10, Anser lophotus Brandt 1836 CC10, *Chenonetta lophotus CC10]

Hymenolaimus Gray 1843 BKB15, CC10 [=Hymenolaemus Agassiz 1846 CC10; incl. Malacorhynchos Wagler 1832 non Swainson 1831 CC10; Hymenolaiminae]

*Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos (Gmelin 1789) [=Anas malacorhynchos, Fuligula (Hymenolaemus) malacorhyncha, Hymenolaemus malacorhynchus, Hymenolaimus malacorhynchus, Rhynchaspis malacorynchos; incl. *Malacorhynchus forsterorum Wagler 1832, Malacorynchus (l. c.) forsterorum, Hymenolaimus malacorhynchus hymenolaimus Mathews 1937, Anas malacoryncha Forster in Lichtenstein 1844] CC10

Spatula Boie 1822 [=Clypeata Lesson 1828, Rhynchaspis Stephens in Shaw 1824, Rhynchoplatus Berthold in Latreille 1827, Spathulea Fleming 1828] CC10

*Spatula clypeata (Linnaeus 1758) CC10 [=Anas clypeata BKB15, *Clypeata clypeata CC10, *Rhynchaspis clypeata CC10, *Rhynchoplatus clypeatus CC10, *Spathulea clypeata CC10]

Spatula rhynchotis (Latham 1802) CC10 [=Anas rhynchotis BKB15, Rhynchaspis rhynchotis CC10, Sptaula (l. c.) rhynchotis CC10; incl. Spatula rhynchotis dydimus Mathews 1916 CC10, Spa. variegata Gould 1856 CC10, Anas rhynchotis variegata non A. variegata Gmelin 1789 (not preoc. if in dif. gen.) CC10, Rhynchaspis variegata CC10, Spatula rhynchotis variegata CC10]

Tachyeres Owen 1875 BKB15, B94 [incl. Micropterus Lesson 1828 B94; Micropterinae, Tachyeresini, Tachyerinae, Tachyerini]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[CS77] Cramp, S., & K. E. L. Simmons (eds) 1977. Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palaearctic vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[M01] Madarász, J. 1901. Madarak [Vögel]. In: Horváth, G. (ed.) Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazása [Dritte Asiatische Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] vol. 2. Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazásának Állattani Eredményei [Zoologische Ergebnisse der Dritten Asiatischen Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] pp. 21–39. Victor Hornyánszky: Budapest, and Karl W. Hierseman: Leipzig.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[O87] Okamura, C. 1987. New facts: Homo and all Vertebrata were born simultaneously in the former Paleozoic in Japan. Original Report of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory 15: 347–573.

[PB27] Pilsbry, H. A., & J. Bequaert. 1927. The aquatic mollusks of the Belgian Congo, with a geographical and ecological account of Congo malacology. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 53 (2): 69–602, pls 10–77.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds.) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 1. Blandford Press: London.

[S66] Schlegel, H. 1866. Communication from, on mammals and birds collected in Madagascar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 419–426.

[SC99] Sorenson, M. D., A. Cooper, E. E. Paxinos, T. W. Quinn, H. F. James, S. L. Olson & R. C. Fleischer. 1999. Relationships of the extinct moa-nalos, flightless Hawaiian waterfowl, based on ancient DNA. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B—Biological Sciences 266: 2187–2193.

[S18] Stone, W. 1918. Birds of the Panama Canal Zone, with special reference to a collection made by Mr. Lindsey L. Jewel. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 70: 239–280.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

[WH02] Worthy, T. H., & R. N. Holdaway. 2002. The Lost World of the Moa: Prehistoric life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press: Bloomington (Indiana).

Last updated: 27 November 2021.

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