The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is a medium-sized dabbling duck in the Anatidae family. It is a water bird, living in wetlands.
The male is called a drake, and the female is called a duck. The babies are called ducklings.
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Why are insects thriving in England’s rivers?
Researchers have studied insects in English rivers for thirty years. The Environment Agency monitoring data shows that insects and other invertebrates are increasing and it may be linked to lower levels of metals in the rivers, such as zinc and copper.
The New Scientist magazine (19 May 2023) reported that insects are more abundant now than at any time over the past thirty years.
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World Wetlands Day is celebrated on 2 February annually. With 35% of the world’s wetlands having disappeared in the last 50 years, and nearly 90% degraded since the 1700s, the theme for the 2023 World Wetlands Day is Wetland Restoration – ‘revive and restore degraded wetlands.’ Wetlands are important ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, and freshwater availability.
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The Flamingo is a large wading wetlands bird in the Phoenicopteridae family.
The four Flamingo species are found in countries in North America, South America, Africa, southern Europe and south-west Asia.
It is a social bird, living in colonies. A group is called a stand of Flamingos or a flamboyance of Flamingos.
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The photographed juvenile White-Naped Crane is three months old. It was born between 8-10 May 2022.
The White-Naped Crane (Antigone vipio) is a large wetlands bird. It is native to Asia, in Mongolia, China and Russia. The adult measures about 130 centimetres (51 inches) tall, with a large wingspan of 2 metres (6.5 feet). The young (juvenile) White-Naped Crane looks very different from its parents.
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The Pool Frog (Pelophylax lessonae) is a freshwater wetlands amphibian in the Ranidae family of water frogs.
The Pool Frog is green, olive or brown. On its back is a green line that runs from head to tail. There are small warts on its back. Its underbelly is creamy-white. It has a plump body with long hind (back) legs, and no tail. It has large, round, protruding eyes. It has webbed feet.
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What is a polder?
A polder is a piece of low-lying land reclaimed from the sea or river and protected by a structure, such as a dyke in the Netherlands.
If coastal, it is generally tidal, which means that the tides come and go. If riverine, the polders are usually protected from erosion.
There are three types of polders.
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What are peatlands?
Peatlands are also called bogs, boglands, moors, swamps, swamplands, and fens.
Peatlands are part of wetlands, where water meets the land. Peatlands are underwater. They are made of decomposed organic matter – mostly from plants – in water-logged, low-oxygen, highly acidic conditions, says New Scientist magazine in December 2021.
Peatlands are mostly found in the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere, but they in almost all countries in the world.
Peatlands cover only 3% of the world’s surface, but they contain nearly 33% of all of the carbon in soil, which is twice as much as the world’s forests.
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The Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) is a wetlands bird in the Ardeidae family of herons.
The Squacco Heron is short and stocky, almost without a neck. It has a buff-brown body with a white underbelly and wings. In summer, it grows long neck feathers. It has a short, thick, greyish beak.
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The Common Redshank (Tringa tetanus) is a medium-sized bird in the Scolopacidae family of waders. A shank is a leg, so redshank means red leg.
The Common Redshank has brown marbled feathers with a lighter mottled underbelly. In winter, it is greyish brown with a white underbelly. It has red legs and a black-tipped red beak. It has small, rounded black eyes.
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The Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus) is a reptile in the Alligatoridae family of alligators. It is also known as the Musky Caiman and the Smooth-Fronted Caiman.
The Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman looks like a small alligator with a broad head and a U-shaped snout (nose). The adult is dark-brown to black, while juveniles are brown with black bands. It has an upturned lip. The upper jaw extends further than the lower jaw. It has strong scales for protection. It has brown eyes with vertical slits.
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The Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) is a semi-aquatic mammal in the Mustelidae family of weasels and otters. It is also known as the European Otter, Common Otter, Old World Otter, and Eurasian River Otter.
The Eurasian Otter has a streamlined, elongated body, and a long, strong, flat tail. It has two layers of dense brown water-repellent fur, and a cream underbelly. It has a short neck, small dark eyes, a black nose, long white whiskers, and small rounded ears. It has five long toes and webbed feet to swim in water, but it needs air to breathe.
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The Southern Lechwe (Kobus leche) is an ungulate (hoofed) mammal in the Bovidae family of cattle and antelopes. It is also known as the Red Lechwe.
The Southern Lechwe is golden brown with a white belly. The male is darker than the female. The male has long, spiral horns. The female does not have horns. Its hind legs (back legs) are longer than those of other antelopes – perhaps to be able to walk in the marshy soil. Its legs have a water-repellent substance on its legs, which enables it to run in knee-high water.
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The Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) is a non-wading bird in the Threskiornithidae family of wading birds. Most ibises are wetland wading birds, living near water sources, but the Northern Bald Ibis is not a wetland wading bird.
It lives and breeds in colonies and flocks of up to 100 individuals. It makes a stick nest high on a cliff ledge to avoid predators.
The female lays 2-3 eggs. The chicks hatch after about 25 days and gain their feathers within 40-50 days.
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The Mulard Duck is a large wetlands bird in the Anatidae family of dabbling ducks. It is a hybrid between the Muscovy Duck (Cairina mschata) and the domestic duck called the Pekin Duck (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus). It is also spelled Moulard Duck. It is also known as the Mule Duck.
The Mulard Duck is white with a pale pink beak. It has pink or red wattles (loose skin) around its eyes and beak. It has a wide, flat tail. It has long claws on its webbed feet. Its eyes are brown.
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The Southern Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis) is a large seabird in the Phalacrocoracidae family of European and Asian cormorants. It is also known as the Great Black Cormorant.
The Southern Cormorant is black with white cheeks and throat. Its feathers are glossy with some green iridescence. Its beak is grey, its eyes are green, and its webbed feet are black.
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Why does the Avocet have an upturned, or upcurved, beak?
The Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) is a small bird in the Recurvirostridae family of waders. It has long legs to wade in water. It lives in wetlands, such as marshes, swamps, lakes, estuaries, and rivers.
The Avocet has a long, thin, upcurved black beak. It measures about 8 centimetres (3 inches) long. Many wetlands birds, such as Ibis and Curlew, have a long, thin downturned beak, but the Avocet has an upturned beak.
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The Spur-Winged Goose (Plectropterus gambensis gambensis) is a large bird in the Anatidae family of geese. It is related to the Shelduck.
The Spur-Winged Goose is black with a white face and white patches on its wings. Its belly is white. It has a red facial patch from its beak to above its eyes. The male has a larger red facial patch than the female. It has a long, S-shaped neck. It has long pinkish-red legs.
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The German Pekin Duck (Anas platyrhynchos) is a European breed of a domestic bird in the Anatidae family of mallard ducks. It is also known as the White Pekin Duck and related to the American Pekin Duck.
The German Pekin Duck has an upright, broad, heavy body with thick layers of creamy-white feathers with a yellowish tinge. Its beak is short and orange. Its eyes are small and dark. It has orange webbed feet.
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The Common Moorhen chick looks like a little ball of fluffy feathers.
The Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) is a medium-sized wetlands bird found from Europe to Asia. The adult measures about 38 centimetres (15 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 62 centimetres (24 inches). The young chick, or juvenile Common Moorhen, looks similar to its parents.
The adult Common Moorhen has dark black-grey feathers, except for a white undertail. It has a white line on its side, called a flank line. It has a red frontal shield above its yellow-tipped red beak. The female is browner and duller.
The chick has black feathers with white wispy feathers around its neck. It has a red beak without the frontal shield.
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