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A History of the Birds of New Zealand.

Nesonetta Aucklandica. — (Auckland-Island Duck.)

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Nesonetta Aucklandica.
(Auckland-Island Duck.)

  • Nesonetta aucklandica, Gray, Voy. Ereb. and Terror, p. 16 (1844).

Ad. brunneus, vix viridi nitens, plumis tergi nonnullis nigro irroratis: alis concoloribus brunneis, secundariis clariore viridi nitentibus: pileo saturatiore brunneo: facie laterali totâ et gutture toto brunneis saturatiore brunneo maculatis: corpore reliquo subtùs rufescenti-brunneo, indistinctè saturatiore brunneo maculato, pectoris lateribus nigro irroratis: subcaudalibus brunneis nigro terminatis: rostro nigricanti-brunneo: pedibus rubescenti-brunneis: iride saturatè brunneâ.

Adult male. Head and neck warm umber-brown, slightly glossed with green on the vertex and nape, largely mottled with white on the chin, and less so on the fore neck; entire upper surface dark umber-brown, the feathers composing the mantle margined with chestnut-brown, and the whole of the plumage glossed in certain lights with metallic green, which is brighter on the upper wing-coverts; upper part of breast, sides of the body, flanks, and under tail-coverts dark chestnut-brown; quills and tail-feathers blackish brown, with a ruddy glow on the former; there is no speculum, but the secondaries are darker on their outer webs and are terminally margined outwardly with fulvous white; lower part of breast and the abdomen fulvous white, varied more or less with brown, especially towards the vent. Irides dark hazel; bill blackish brown; legs and feet reddish brown. Total length 15 inches; wing, from flexure, 5·2; tail 2·5; bill, along the ridge 1·5, along the edge of lower mandible 1·75; tarsus 1·2; middle toe and claw 2.

Obs. The type of this species in the British Museum (which was brought home by the Antarctic Expedition) is slightly larger, and differs somewhat in its coloration, the plumage of the shoulders and the sides of the body being more or less vermiculated.

The above description and the accompanying figure are taken from the only specimen of this bird in my collection (an adult male), which was brought from the Auckland Islands by Mr. Burton, of the Colonial Museum, in May 1880.

I have never met with this species in New Zealand proper, but there is a specimen in the British Museum, presented by Sir George Grey when Governor of the Colony, without, however, any information as to locality.

Nothing is at present known of its habits, except that, owing to the abbreviated form of its wings, it is quite incapable of flight.