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Wetland habitats are among the most productive of ecosystems and harbour a unique variety of plants and animals. This book is about the ecology of a group of wetland specialists; although the group is well defined it does contain species of a wide variety of morphological characteristics and habits. We have adopted an evolutionary approach,dealing with the functions and adaptive significance of the various traits. We have used as examples both classical works and some of the most recent studies, chiefly those which are manipulative or experimental, testing hypotheses and predictions. Although the treatment is restricted to waterfowl, the group does serve to illustrate general principles of evolution and natural selection.