Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

African black duck

Anas sparsa

Afrikaanse zwarte eend / Schwarzente / Canard tacheté

 

The African black duck (Anas sparsa) is a species of duck of the genus Anas. It is genetically closest to the mallard group, but shows some peculiarities in its behavior and (as far as they can be discerned) plumage; it is accordingly placed in the subgenus Melananas pending further research.

 

It is a very shy and territorial duck. It is usually seen in pairs or small flocks. It breeds throughout the year in different areas. Incubation is about 30 days by the mother and the fledgling period is 86 days and only the mother takes care of the young. Their egg quantity ranges from 4 to 8 eggs.

 

Though it likes to stay in rivers and streams during the day it prefers large open waters during the night. This duck likes water in the wooded hills of Africa and also like to hide its nests near running water. Also the African black duck makes its cup shaped nest of driftwoodand matted grass. Though it builds its nest near running water it is always above flood level and on the ground.

It is an omnivore that feeds off of larvae and pupae usually found under rocks, aquatic animals, plant materialseeds, small fishsnails, and crabs.

 

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (2012).

 

The species is threatened by deforestation in Kenya (del Hoyo, et al. 1992), and as it is a river specialist it is vulnerable to habitat loss through river degradation (Hockey, et al.2005) such as dam building, water extraction (Hockey, et al. 2005, Kear 2005b), siltation, pollution, clearing of riparian vegetation and alien biota (Hockey, et al. 2005). Hybridisation of the species with Mallard Anas platyrhynchos is also a potential threat (Hockey, et al. 2005).

 

More info: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22680170/0 

 

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Above: African black ducks and a Patagonian crested duck (background)

 

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 Above: male black duck

 

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Above: male black duck

 

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Above: female with ducklings

 

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Above: female with ducklings

 

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Above: female with ducklings

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