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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

Ring-necked Duck

Capt. Lewis, March 28, 1806--one of the hunters killed a duck which appeared to be the male, it was a size less than the duckinmallard. the head neck as low as the croop, the back tail and covert of the wings were of a fine black with a small addmixture of perple about the head and neck, the belley & breast were white; some long feathers which lie underneath the wings and cover the thye were of a pale dove colour with fine black specks; the large feathers of the wings are of a dove colour. the legs are dark, the feet are composed of 4 toes each of which there are three in front connected by a web, the 4th is short flat and placed high on the heel behind the leg. the tail is composed of 14 short pointed feathers. the beak of this duck is remarkably wide, and is 2 inches in length, the upper chap exceeds the under one in both length and width, insomuch that when the beak is closed the under is entirely concealed by the upper chap. the tongue, indenture of the margin of the chaps &c. are like those of the mallard. the nostrils are large longitudinal and connected. a narrow strip of white garnishes the upper part or base of the upper chap – this is succeeded by a pale skye blue colour which occupys about one inch of the chap, is again succeeded by a transverse stripe of white and the extremity is of a pure black. the eye is moderately large the puple black and iris of a fine orrange yellow. the feathers on the crown of the head are longer than those on the upper part of neck and other parts of the head; these feathers give it the appearance of being crested.

Capt. Lewis, March 29, 1806--the female of the duck which was described yesterday is of a uniform dark brown with some yellowish brown intermixed in small specks on the back neck and breast.

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