Old World Comb Duck

Old World Comb Duck

Birds

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: Old World comb duck, comb duck, knob-billed duck
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Aves
ORDER: Anseriformes
FAMILY: Anatidae
GENUS SPECIES: Sarkidiornis (fleshy comb) melanotos melanotos (black back)

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Old World comb ducks are large-sized ducks. They have a metallic-violet, purple, bronze and green back with yellow or cinnamon flanks. The head is creamy-white and the neck is orange-yellow in color. Some have a variable black head. Both sexes possess a small crest of slightly curly feathers.
FEMALE The less glossy females lack a comb and yellowish head coloration, and their head is normally more profusely spotted than the male.
SIZE: Reaches lengths of 56-58 cm (22-23 in.)
WEIGHT: Approximately 800-940 g (2 lb)
DIET: Diet includes grass seeds and small snails
INCUBATION: 30-32 days
CLUTCH SIZE 6-11 eggs
FLEDGING DURATION 10 weeks
SEXUAL MATURITY: About 1-2 years
LIFE SPAN: Approximately 20-30 years
RANGE: Africa, south of the Sahara and Madagascar
HABITAT: Inhabit grassy savanna and woodlands
POPULATION: GLOBAL Unknown
STATUS: IUCN Not listed
CITES Appendix II
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. Comb ducks are named for the prominent, leaf-shaped comb atop the male's bill. The comb is fleshy and reduced in size for much of the year, but enlarges prior to breeding season.
2. This African duck tends to migrate long distances, occasionally traveling more than 2,200 miles!
3. Old World comb ducks perch in trees, clinging with their strong claws to vertical tree trunks like monstrous woodpeckers!
4. These ducks are usually silent except when annoyed or displaying. At that time, males hiss, wheeze, or croak and whistle while females quack, grunt, and whine.
5. Old World comb ducks nest in tree cavities about 6.1-9.1 meters (20-30 ft) above the ground or within holes in the walls of buildings.
6. This species, as with other tree ducks, practices dump nesting where several females lay their eggs in one nest. Such nests may hold more than 50 eggs!

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

In some regions, the birds are viewed as rice crop pests.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Austin, G. Birds of the World. New York. Golden Press, Inc., 1961.

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. UK. Blandford Books Ltd., 1981.

Johnsgard, P. Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World. Lincoln. Univ. Of Neb. Press, 1978.

Scott, P. A Coloured Key of the Wildfowl of the World. Slimbridge, England. The Wildfowl Trust. 1988.

Todd, F.S. Natural History of Waterfowl. San Diego, Ca. Ibis Publishing Co., 1996.

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