What is it?

Is it a turkey? Duck? Goose? Turducken?

It's an odd little engraving from my modest natural history print collection. I bought it with a bunch of other engravings from a small Chicago frame shop years ago. I didn't know anything about the print at the time. I was in grad school then, and had actually bought it and the others for use in an installation.

Years later I finally did a little research on it. It's an engraving done by the naturalist Frederick Polydore Nodder, and is from volume 15 (I believe) of "The Naturalist's Miscellany" from the late 18th century. What exactly this bird is, though, I still have yet to find out. My guess is the Hugely Wattled Something Something. Any ideas? I'll take suggestions, but keep it clean folks. It's only Monday.


  1. maybe a musk duck (Biziura lobata)??

  2. Angela, you must be right! I looked up some images and it looks exactly like the engraving. They really do have the big pouch beneath their bill. I had no idea such a creature existed.

  3. With mystery solved, I'll refrain from my guess (a biology experiment gone awry, in which a bullfrog mates with a heron and inherits the least becoming features of each).

    It's not a pretty bird, per se, but it's a mighty beautiful print!

  4. That's how I get the bargain basement prices on the pretty prints: I buy the ugliest birds!

  5. ahh, for once one of those maddening internet side-tracking lost afternoons actually did something good. We've actually had some rain here in Australia, and as we have both grass and water, i was thinking of adding either some ducks or geese to our menagerie to keep the grass down in the orchard and swim in the dam. I was looking at breeds, then rare breeds, then just at all of the pictures ... you know how it goes. Glad your engraving subject now has an identity!

  6. Yes, your internet wanderings solved the mystery of the strange toad-duck. I'm so glad to hear that you guys finally got some rain. I know that it has been really rough the last couple of years. Hope the ponies and dogs are doing well!


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