Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

White-backed duck

Thalassornis leuconotus

Witrugeend / Weißrückenente / Canard à dos blanc

These ducks have long been regarded as relatives to Stiff-tailed ducks (genus Oxyura). Now they are looked upon as related to the whistling ducks (Dendrocygna). They live in Africa, below the Sahara, South East Africa and Madagascar. These ducks live in watersheds and lakes where vegetation is not too dense. On land this bird doesn't appear to be very quick and they are slow swimmers. To ascend from the water these ducks need a take-off run. They live in small groups and to feed they look for seeds and waterplants. They are able divers and sometimes waterplants are found in that way. The white back can only be seen in flight. The Madagascar subspecies (T. l. insularis) is smaller with dark head and body. They lay about 4-10 chocolat brown eggs which hatch in 26-30 days.

 

This species doesn't appear so much in captivity as breeding them is not as easy as with many other species. The ringsize is 10 milimeters; ring ducklings when they are 27 days old.

 

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 12,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 14,000-31,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

 

White-backed duck

Above: adult White-backed ducks, Sylvan Heights Bird Park, NC, USA

 

White-backed duck

Above: adult White-backed duck

 

White-backed duck

Above: adult white-backed duck, Sylvan Heights Bird Park, NC, USA

 

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Above: adult white-backed ducks

 

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Above: adult white-backed ducks

 

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Above: adult white-backed ducks 

 

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Above: incubating white-backed duck

 

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Above: incubating white-backed duck

 

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Above: white-backed duck in its typical alert posture

 

Above: White-backed duck and African pygmy geese at WWT Slimbridge

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