Birds Of The World:
The Golden-eyed Ducks
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( Originally Published Early 1900's )
In the southern part of South America, about the Straits of Magellan, the Falkland Islands, and the Chilean coast, is a very curious Duck known as the Steamer-Duck (Tachyeres cinereus), so called from its peculiar method of locomotion. It is a large sea Duck, some thirty inches in length, mainly gray throughout, with a reddish patch on the throat, and white secondaries. When young this bird possesses the power of flight, but this faculty is gradually lost as the body increases in size and weight to such an extent, owing to the deposition of mineral matter in the bones and other causes, that it gradually abandons the habit of flight, and it paddles itself around with rapid movements of its wings, much after the manner of a side-wheel steamer, whence, of course, its name. It moves with astonishing rapidity, and this combined "with its diving powers are sufficient to preserve it from threatened danger."