Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

Yellow-billed Ducks

Yellow-billed Duck


Yellow-billed Duck, Anas undulata The Yellow-billed Ducks (Anas undulata) are African resident (non-migratory) ducks.


Recognized Subspecies:

  • Southern Yellow-billed Duck (Anas undulata undulata) - Nominate Race
    • Southern Race: Declining population due to competition and hybridization with feral Mallards (Rhymer 2006).

  • Northern Yellow-billed Duck (Anas undulata rueppelli )
    • North-eastern Race: Darker plumage, a brighter bill and blue speculum (wing patch)..

Distribution / Range:

The Yellow-billed Duck are common in southern and eastern Africa, where they are usually seen in freshwater habitats in fairly open country .

Even though this duck is not migratory, they may travel short distances in the dry season to find suitable bodies of water.

Outside the breeding season, they form large flocks.


Yellow-billed Duck, Anas undulata Description:

The Yellow-billed Duck are about the size of mallards, measuring 51 - 58 cm in length..

The plumage is mostly grey with a darker head, whitish underwings and white-bordered green speculums (= distinctive wing patch) on the upper wings. The bill is bright yellow.

Males and females look alike, and juveniles are slightly duller than adults.


Breeding / Nesting:

Yellow-billed Ducks usually nest near water - on the ground in dense vegetation.

The average clutch consists of six and twelve eggs.


Yellow-billed Duck, Anas undulata - dabbling


Yellow-billed Duck, Anas undulata Calls / Vocalizaton:

The male's call is described as a Teal-like whistle.

The female's call is a mallard-like quack.


Relevant Resources


Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

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Diet / Feeding:

Yellow-billed ducks feed by dabbling for plant food mainly in the evening or at night.

Ducks generally feed on larvae and pupae usually found under rocks, aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails and crabs.

Feeding Ducks ...

We all enjoy ducks and many of us offer them food to encourage them to come over and stay around - and it works! Who doesn't like an easy meal!

However, the foods that we traditionally feed them at local ponds are utterly unsuitable for them and are likely to cause health problems down the road. Also, there may be local laws against feeding this species of bird - so it's best to check on that rather than facing consequences at a later stage.

Please note that feeding ducks and geese makes them dependent on humans for food, which can result in starvation and possibly death when those feedings stop. If you decide to feed them, please limit the quantity to make sure that they maintain their natural ability to forage for food themselves - providing, of course, that natural food sources are available.

Yellow-billed Duck making a "splash"



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