The Labrador Duck bird was a flightless marine duck found in the eastern coast of North America, predominantly in the Labrador region of Canada. It was believed to be a migratory bird as it flew south during winters and returned to the Labrador coast for breeding during the spring.
Adult males of this species were about 53-61 cm in length and weighed around 1.8 kg, while females were about 50-58 cm long and weighed around 1.4 kg. They had a distinct black and white pattern with white bellies and black plumage on their heads and necks. The bill of the Labrador Duck was black and wide at the base, while their legs and feet were orange.
The bird principally fed on mollusks, crabs, and other marine invertebrates, foraging underwater by diving up to 25 m in depth. They were known to breed in remote coastal areas, typically in rock crevices or on open ground near the shoreline.
The bird's population was drastically reduced due to overhunting by humans for its meat, feathers, and eggs. Additionally, excessive harvesting of bird eggs by humans, deforestation, and habitat degradation caused by logging further contributed to their extinction.
The last recorded sighting of the Labrador Duck occurred in 1875, after which it was declared extinct, making it only the second North American bird to go extinct after the Great Auk in the mid-19th century.
Several factors, including shooting by collectors and habitat destruction, were responsible for the extinction of the Labrador Duck. Despite attempts to conserve the bird's population, it did not provide much success, and the lack of genetic diversity and a shrinking habitat prevented any attempt to restore the species.
The lesson to be learned from the extinction of the Labrador Duck is that conservation of endangered species should begin long before the population of the species reaches a critical stage. The importance of habitat conservation, increased awareness about the species' plight, and reducing human activities that can lead to their extinction should be emphasized to prevent the risk of losing other species in the future.