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Auckland Islands Merganser

The Auckland Islands Merganser (Mergus australis), was a typical merganser which is now extinct. This bird was first collected when a French expedition visited the Auckland Islands in 1840. Subsequent fossil discoveries suggest that this merganser was previously resident on the South Island and Stewart Island in New Zealand. There have also been fossils found of related subspecies on the Chatham Islands.

This duck was similar in size to the Red-breasted Merganser. The adult male had a dark reddish-brown head, crest and neck, with bluish black mantle and tail and slate grey wings. The female was slightly smaller with a shorter crest.

Its decline was caused by a combination of hunting and predation by introduced mammals. Although the bird was not flightless, it was hard to flush as it preferred to hide in and around rocks when pursued. The last sighting was of a pair shot on January 9, 1902. A thorough search in 1972/1973 concluded that the species had been long extinct.

Auckland Islands Merganser


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