Excerpt from The Water-Fowl Family The Anatidae, or family of wild fowl, comprises the swans, geese, sea-ducks, river-ducks, and mergansers. From time immemorial this group of birds has been most important in its relations to man. Divided into various subfamilies, it contains nearly two hundred species, about sixty of which are North American. The peculiar characteristics of these birds are well kwn: all have heavy bodies, and most of them long necks; the bill varies much in shape in the different species, but is usually broad, covered with a soft skin and with a hard nail at the tip; it is often provided with little comb-like processes situated on its inner edges, which assist in sifting the food from its common environment of mud and sand. The tongue is large and fleshy, adapted for all sorts of water-vegetable material and various Crustacea and shellfish which comprise the diet. The windpipe varies curiously in the different individuals, being convoluted and twisted, thus affording the volume of voice ted particularly among some of the geese and swans. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art techlogy to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.