Labrador Duck : EXTINCT BIRDS

Labrador Duck



Labrador Duck :


The Labrador Duck was a striking black and white Eider-like sea duck that was never common and is believed to be the first bird to become extinct in North America after 1500. The last Labrador Duck is believed to have been seen at Elmira - New York on December 12 – 1878. The last preserved specimen was shot in 1875 on Long Island. The Labrador Duck migrated annually, wintering off the coasts of New Jersey and New England - where it favored southern sandy coasts, bays and inlets - and breeding in Labrador in the summer. The Labrador Duck was also known as a Pied Duck - a vernacular name. The Labrador Duck fed on small molluscs and some fishermen reported catching it on fishing lines baited with mussels. It is thought that the Labrador Duck was always rare, but between 1850 and 1870, populations waned further. Its extinction is still not fully explained. Although hunted for food, this duck was considered to taste bad, would rot quickly and fetched a low price. Consequently, it was not sought much by hunters. However, it is thought that the eggs may have been over-harvested and it may have been subject to depredations by the feather trade in its breeding area as well.



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