African Yellow Billed Duck African Yellow Billed Duck
African Yellow-Billed Duck

Scientific Classification

Common Name
African yellow-billed duck, yellow-billed duck
Genus Species
Anas (duck) undulata

Fast Facts

Adult yellow-billed ducks are streaked blackish-gray on the head and neck regions.  The dorsal (back) feathers are typically blackish-brown and scaled in appearance, while the lower feathers are mostly brown or tan in color.  Like the mallard, these ducks have a metallic-green speculum bordered by black and white edging. As indicated by its name, the yellow-billed duck has a bright yellow bill with a black patch and black edging on the upper mandible. Females are almost identical in appearance to males except for a somewhat duller feather and bill coloration and a slightly smaller size.
Approximately 35 cm (14 in.)
316 to 502 g (11 to 18 oz.)
Yellow-Billed Ducks are omnivorous, with a diet consisting of the fruits, seeds, roots, leaves and stems of aquatic and terrestrial plants, aquatic insects and their larvae, crustaceans, mollusks, and agricultural grains such as maize and sunflower seeds.
25 to 26 days
Clutch Size
7 to 8 eggs
Fledging Duration
6 weeks
Sexual Maturity
1 to 2 years
Life Span
Averages 20 to 30 years
This species has an extremely large range and can be found in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
This species frequents slow-flowing rivers with pools and adjacent flooded grasslands, permanent and seasonal lakes, streams, marshes, brackish coastal lagoons, artificial reservoirs associated with mining, dams, salt pans, sewage works, and the open water of estuaries .
The total population is very large with at least 10,000 mature individuals. The population is stable and not severely fragmented.
IUCN: Least Concern
CITES: Not listed
USFWS:  Not listed

Fun Facts

Male ducks are called drakes, females are hens, and young are called ducklings.

African yellow-billed ducks are typically nocturnal foragers, feeding at dusk and after dark.

Ecology and Conservation

These birds are a food source for predators and also help control plant growth.

Pollution is a threat that still needs to be controlled to keep the current population stable.

Hybridization of the species with the Northern mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) represents a threat to the integrity of the species because the two species hybridize easily and produce fertile progeny.


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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.

BirdLife International. 2016. Anas undulata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22680221A92850226. Downloaded on 29 November 2018.

Photo Credit: Yellow-billed_Duck.jpg. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Image by: Monkey Boy. Year Created: 18 December 2005. Website: License: CC by SA 2.0.