Harteman Wildfowl Aviaries | educating since 1998

Salvadori's duck / Salvadori's teal

Salvadorina waigiuensis

Salvadori-eend / Salvadoriente  / Canard de Salvadori 

The Salvadori's duck lives in mountain streams and lakes of New Guinea; despite its specific name and stated type locality, not known to occur on Waigeo I (off NW New Guinea). Its typical habitat consists of mountain torrents, brooks and streams (including those with sluggish, muddy waters) and small alpine lakes, generally at 3000–4100 m; also in small rivers of calmer waters down to 500 m and occasionally even to just 70 m in Lakekamu Basin of E Papua New Guinea.

This species shares several characters with New Zealand blue ducks Hymenolaimus and torrent ducks Merganetta, but this possibly due to convergent evolution. 


It feeds on aquatic invertebrates (mostly insect larvae) and possibly tadpoles and small fish. Invertebrates recorded in diet include caddis-fly larvae, dragonfly nymphs, cladoceran water flies and water beetles. Frequently feeds around rapids, probing between rocks, as well as by dabbling, upending and diving; dives typically last c. 12 seconds (range 7–18 seconds). Perhaps partially nocturnal in its habits.


More info: https://www.hbw.com/species/salvadoris-teal-salvadorina-waigiuensis 


Captive observations

Extracted from Wildfowl 26, published by the Wildfowl Trust, Slimbridge 1975

As might be expected, it is difficult to keep more than one captive pair on a single pond (Delacour, 1956; Hällström , 1956). Scott (1958) recorded captive birds frequently upending to feed, as other dabbling ducks do, but diving more readily and going under from a low position in the water without raising a ripple. 

F. W . Shaw Mayer (in litt.) concidered tadpoles to be a major food in the wild, and ducklings bred in captivity at Nondugl took these readily during the first few days of life (in addition to small minnows, ants’ eggs and soaked dog biscuit). Shaw Mayer also mentioned that his birds were largely nocturnal.

The clutch normally consists of only three eggs; one clutch of four is reported to have been laid in captivity (F. W . Shaw Mayer, in litt.) and two wild broods of four ducklings have been recorded. This is a particularly small clutch (the mallard lays an average o f ten or eleven), although th at of the torrent duck is similar at three or four eggs, and the blue duck has an average of only five. According to Shaw Mayer’s notes the incubation period must be last at least 28 days.


Captivity seems ideal for an examination of social behaviour. Two or three pairs could be held at a wildlife reserve in New Guinea. Pinioned birds bred m any times at Nondugl, but were always parent-reared, so th at precise information on such m atters as growth rates was not collected. At Slimbridge (the Wildfowl Trust) in England, Salvadori’s ducks, in particular the females, did not settle well. Eleven birds died within a year of arrival, although the remaining two males lived for five and six years. Deaths were due mainly to gut parasites, probably acquired after arrival, in particular Acuaria. Aspergillosis, TB and lead poisoning were also found at post-mortem examination. Thus, unlike blue duck and torrent duck, Salvadori’s do not seem prone to die of generalized bacterial infections (which are difficult to guard against in a large waterfowl collection) and should be easy enough to maintain for captivity studies if birds were acquired in the future.


Shaw Mayer considered that in order to breed, his captive birds needed animal food: they could survive on soaked dog-biscuit alone, but would not lay. A diet of poultry pellets, puppy biscuit meal, grain or seeds, and some freshwater animal food such as minced eel, should be adequate.


Source: https://wildfowl.wwt.org.uk/index.php/wildfowl/article/view/500/500 


Above: Salvadori's ducks, copyright © Tim Laman




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