Dafila acuta (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 202 (1766) ; (Naum.), xi. p. 638, Taf. 301 ; (Hewitson), ii. p. 403, pl. cxiii. fig. 2 ; Gould, B. of Gt. Brit. v. pl. 18 ; David and Oust., Ois. Chine, p. 498 ; Dresser, vi. p. 531, pls. 430, 431 ; Salvadori, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxvii. p. 270 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 447 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p 1147 ; Saunders, p. 429 ; (Lilford), vii. p. 92, pl. 36 ; Bidgway, p. 98 ; (Seebohm), B. Jap. Emp. p. 246 ; D. caudacuta (Pall.), Zoogr. Ross. As. ii. p. 280 (1811) ; Gould, B. of E. v. pl. 365.
Pilet, French : Rabijunco, Portug. ; Pato-careto, Span. ; Codone, Ital. ; Spiessente. German ; Pijlstaart, Dutch ; Spidsand, Dan. and Norweg. ; Stjertand, Swed. ; Vuojas, Lapp. ; Jouhisuorsa., Finn. ; Sckilochvost, Russ. ; Bulbul, Arab. Sanh, Sink-par. Hindu. ; O-naga-gamo, Jap.
Male ad. (England). Crown and nape dark umber-brown with paler margins ; sides of head, chin, and fore-neck reddish brown with faint purplish reflections ; hind-neck blackish brown glossed with green ; lower hind-neck and upper parts white vermiculated with black, the rump and upper tail-coverts barred and marbled with brown ; middle tail-feathers blackish brown, elongated, and pointed, the outer one and quills dark grey, the former tipped with white ; alar speculum metallic green with a ferruginous bar above and a white one below ; elongated alar feathers black margined with white ; a long line on each side of the neck and breast white ; under parts white ; flanks like the back ; lower abdomen indistinctly barred with greyish brown ; crissum and under tail-coverts black ; beak blackish, the sides dull plumbeous ; legs and feet greyish black ; iris orange-brown. Culmen 2.2, wing 11.2, tail 7.5, tarsus 1.6 inch. The female has the head and nape reddish brown the rest of the head and neck yellowish white all lineated with dark brown ; the upper parts dark brown edged and marked with dirty white, the under parts yellowish white marked with brown ; no speculum but with two white bars across the wings. In the summer the male assumes a dress much like that of the female but retains the speculum.
Hab. Europe generally, breeding in the north as far as northern Lapland, migrating south in winter to North Africa ; Asia, east to Japan, north to about 71° N. Lat., south in -winter to Mongolia, China, India, and Ceylon ; North America from Alaska, south to Cuba and Panama.
In general habits it much resembles A. boscas, and is a, fresh¬water duck, feeding on aquatic plants, seeds, tender shoots, roots, insects, and their larvae, but may also be met with off the sea-coasts. Its note is soft and is not so high-pitched as that of its allies, nor is it a noisy bird. It breeds rather later than A. boscas, its nest being a depression in the ground, not far from water and usually under a bush, lined with small flags, grass-bents, and down. The eggs 7 to 9 in number are dull greenish grey, rather elongated in shape, and measure about 2.9 by 1.45.
853. Dafila acuta