The Labrador Duck was a very rare bird, of North America also called a sea duck, before it went extinct.
This species of the duck called (the Labrador Duck) disappeared nearly 150 years ago—still, no one knows the reason behind!
It was also known as Skunk Duck or Pied Duck for male ducks. The other name of the Labrador duck was Sand Shoal Duck, for the female duck, due to its habit of feeding in shallow water.
There are 54 species of the said duck preserved in worldwide collections of museums, although some believe that there are actually 55 well-preserved specimens of Labrador duck.
Description About Labrador duck:
The Labrador duck became extinct before science had done much more than gave them a name. Much of what we know about them originates from the reports of 19th-century hunters. In 1829, Alexander Wilson described that was never pointedly expanded:
“This is a rather scarce species on our coasts and is never met with on freshwater lakes or rivers. It is called by some gunners the Sand Shoal Duck, from its habit of frequenting sand bars. Its principal food appears to be shellfish, which it procures by diving. The flesh is dry and partakes considerably of the nature of its food. Of their particular manners, place, or mode of breeding, nothing more is known.”
The Labrador duck had small plumages with a small, curved tail. That duck closely resembled the bird called scoter bird. The female Labrador ducks had grey feathers that were weakly patterned. While the male’s feathers were black and white in an elder like pattern.
The wings were completely white, with the exemption of the primaries. The Labrador duck had a rectangle head with little, bright eyes. The duck’s body was small with short, strong feet that were far from the body. The beak was almost the size of the duck’s body.
The habitation of the Labrador Ducks:
The Labrador duck used to live in bays, sandy coasts, and inlets. They used to migrate each year, usually toward the coasts of New England and New Jersey. The Labrador duck was to breed either in Labrador in the summer or in Northern Quebec, however, no one is sure where they were bread at. The feed of the ducks were mussels or maybe small mollusk. These ducks had soft beaks, so it’s to believe that they used to probe through remains for food too.
Causes for Extinction of the Labrador Ducks:
Most of what we know about the Labrador duck derives from the specimens collected in the 18th century.
The actual reason for their extinction is still unknown, though there are many assumptions as to why they get extinct. According to a rough idea is that due to a specialized diet, the ducks were exposed when it came to adapting to their environment. As described earlier about their feeds that they used to go eat shellfishes and mussels, as the decline in these species which the Labrador Duck used to eat, causing their demise.
Here is another belief that an overharvest of eggs and birds on the ducks breeding lands were a possible cause of extinction.
Some people believe that as their feathers were so beautiful and it’s been used to trade and this may result in their extinction.
Another possibility is that the massive increase in human influence on the seashores caused the ducks to move to another habitat. However, the range of the Labrador ducks was limited to the American shore of the North Atlantic, which made it difficult for them to change places. Although there are many assumptions as to how they went vanished, it is still a mystery that what was the real cause? The last Labrador duck was seen in Long Island in 1875. Now it is preserved in the United States National Museum, Washington. They went extinct in the late 19th century.
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