Excerpt from the book Animals Evolution Avoided. This book describes 40 animals that ought to exist but don’t, because I made them up.
Evolution has been kind to the duck family. Ducks are viewed as benign creatures, who wouldn’t say boo to a goose. However, don’t be fooled by the ducks that have survived through to the modern day. A few centuries ago a particular branch of the duck family, called the waterboarding ducks, were found in parts of Leicestershire and Rutland where they terrorised the local wildfowl populations.
Ducks such as teal and the mallard are called dabbling ducks, which means they tip up in shallow water, putting their beaks and heads under the water and look for things to eat. The waterboarding ducks were dabbling ducks of a different kind and behaved in two different ways. If another duck was already in the dabbling position, the waterboarding duck would ambush the dabbling duck and try and drown it by forcing its backside under the water. The dabbling duck would come to the surface, but would be disoriented and the waterboarding duck would then steal whatever food was in its beak.
The other tactic used by the waterboarding duck was to force other ducks to dabble by grabbing their throat and forcing their head under water. The duck would by nature try and feed and then once it had caught something, again the waterboarding duck would steal its food.
The behaviour of the waterboarding ducks alienated them from other waterfowl, who would always fly away, perhaps not surprisingly, when the waterboarding ducks came near. This behaviour led to many waterboarding ducks starving to death as they had lost their innate ability to find food for themselves.