Labrador Duck

With a melancholy history equal almost to that of the Great Auk is the handsome Labrador or Pied Duck (Camptolaimus labradorius), which is now believed to be extinct, the last individual so far as known having been killed in 1878. It was a large, powerful Duck, from eighteen to twenty-three inches long, the male with the head, upper neck, upper breast, sides, and the Goose-like Birds much of the wings white, while the center of the crown, collar, back, and lower parts are black; the female is brownish gray, with the speculum white. This species was a typical sea Duck, frequenting the Atlantic coasts of North America, probably breeding from Labrador northward, but coming south in winter to Long Island, New Jersey, and possibly the Great Lakes. So far as our knowledge goes it has always been a rare bird, being say and difficult of approach, but as its flesh. was rather tough and dry it was not highly esteemed as a game bird, and so was not taken in any numbers, though Mr. George N. Lawrence states that fifty or more years ago it ” was not unusual to see them in Fulton Market, without doubt killed on Long Island.” There is very little authentic information regarding its habits, and its nest and eggs are unknown ; in fact, all that apparently remains of this fine Duck are some forty-one skins and a few bones scattered among the museums and collections of the world. The causes which led to its extinction are unknown and unaccountable, although various theories have been proposed to explain it, such as destruction by an epidemic disease, the continued robbing of its nests by Indians, etc.