AskDefine | Define waterfowl

Dictionary Definition

waterfowl n : freshwater aquatic bird [syn: water bird, waterbird]

User Contributed Dictionary



water + fowl


  1. birds, such as ducks, geese and swans, that spend most of their non-flying time on water; especially those of the family Anatidae



Extensive Definition

Waterfowl are certain wildfowl of the order Anseriformes, especially members of the family Anatidae, which includes ducks, geese, and swans.
They are strong swimmers with medium to large bodies. They have historically been an important food source, and continue to be hunted as game, or raised as poultry for meat and eggs. The domestic duck is sometimes kept as a pet.
Some definitions of the term 'waterfowl' include the saltwater shorebirds or waders, gulls, pelicans, and herons, as well as seabirds such as the albatross, and even the penguin, but generally 'fowl' refers to birds used by humans.

Waterfowl families

The following are groups of birds traditionally classed as waterfowl ; all but the rails are in the Anseriformes order.


  • Madge and Burn, Wildfowl ISBN 0-7470-2201-1
  • Taylor and van Perlo, Rails SBN 90-74345-20-4

External links

waterfowl in German: Wasservogel
waterfowl in Esperanto: Akvobirdoj
waterfowl in French: Sauvagine
waterfowl in Croatian: Vodene ptice
waterfowl in Japanese: 水鳥
waterfowl in Russian: Водоплавающие птицы
waterfowl in Ukrainian: Водоплавні птахи

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

avifauna, baby bird, bird, bird of Jove, bird of Juno, bird of Minerva, bird of night, bird of passage, bird of prey, birdie, birdlife, birdy, cage bird, chick, cygnet, diving bird, dove, eagle, eaglet, fish-eating bird, fledgling, flightless bird, fowl, fruit-eating bird, fulmar, game bird, insect-eating bird, migrant, migratory bird, nestling, oscine bird, owl, passerine bird, peacock, peafowl, peahen, perching bird, pigeon, ratite, sea bird, seed-eating bird, shore bird, songbird, squab, storm petrel, stormy petrel, swan, wading bird, warbler, water bird, wildfowl
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