- Common Name
- Old World comb duck, comb duck, knob-billed duck
- Genus Species
- Sarkidiornis (fleshy comb) melanotos melanotos (black back)
- 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.
- Reaches lengths of 56–58 cm (22–23 in.)
- Approximately 800–940 g (2 lbs.)
- Diet includes grass seeds and small snails
- 30–32 days
- Clutch Size
- 6–11 eggs
- Fledging Duration
- 10 weeks
- Sexual Maturity
- About 1–2 years
- Life Span
- Approximately 20–30 years
- Africa, south of the Sahara and Madagascar
- Inhabit grassy savanna and woodlands
- Global: Unknown
- IUCN: Not listed
CITES: Appendix II
USFWS: Not listed
- 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.
- This African duck tends to migrate long distances, occasionally traveling more than 3,541 km (2,200 mi.)!
- Old World comb ducks perch in trees, clinging with their strong claws to vertical tree trunks like monstrous woodpeckers!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.