WATERFOWL of Africa

The order Anseriformes contains about 150 living species of birds in three families: the Anhimidae (the screamers), Anseranatidae (the Magpie Goose), and the Anatidae, which includes over 140 species of waterfowl, among them the ducks, geese, and swans. All species in the order are web-footed for efficient swimming and have a large wide bill with a specialized tongue that allows water to be sucked in the front of the bill. An array of plates traps food particles as the water is expelled out the sides of the bill. Not all species feed this way, some graze on plants and some also catch fish. [abstracted from Wikipedia]



Dabbling Ducks

Order Anseriformes    Family Anatidae  

Dabbling Ducks belong to genus Anas as is also true for teals. Teals have been given their own web page as an arbitrary way to split the presentation of this large genus. Dabbling ducks do not totally submerge when feeding and are often seen with just their rears showing as the search for food. Because of their feeding method, Dabbling Ducks have evolved to be more buoyant than diving ducks. Most birders identify this type of duck as a "Dabbling Duck", but I personlly think "Dipping Duck" is more descriptive.


Genus Anas
This genus contains the dabbling ducks, so called because the dip their heads for food. They generally do not dive for food. Included are the mallard like, wigeons, teals, pintails and shovelers.

Duck, African Black  Anas sparsa  Found: Africa
The African Black Duck is an entirely black duck with white marks on its back. Appears to be genetically closest to the Mallard Duck.
Image by: 1, 3) Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights   2) Joseph Mochoge - Gilgil, Kenya    4) Dick - World of Birds, South Africa   5) Ian White - Botswana
Image by:  1) Jimmy Smith - Mississippi  2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9) Dick Danielsgil, Kenya 6) Peter Steward - Kenya


Duck, Meller's  Anas melleri  Found: Eastern Madagascar
The Meller's Duck looks similar to a Mallard and its other relatives, but the Meller's Duck does not have a superciliu.
Image by: 1, 2) Lt Shears - Louisville Zoo


Duck, Yellow-billed Anas undulata   Found: Africa
The Yellow-billed Duck has mottled gray upperparts and lower parts, dark gray head and neck, yellow bill with black center.
Image by: 1, 4, 5) Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights  2,3) Dick - Plettenberg Bay, South Africa   6) Dick - Jacksonville Zoo, Florida



Gadwall Anas strepera   Found: North America, Europe, Asia, Africa
The breeding male Gadwall has gray upperparts and lowerparts, light chestnut wings, and a white speculum. The female has a mottled brown body, dark orange-edged bill, white speculum, light belly. The nonbreeding male resembles the female but is grayer above and has less orange on the bill.
Similar to: female Mallard. Female Gadwall has a squarer head than female Mallard. Mallard has more pronounced eye-line.
Image by: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9) Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights     4) Jeff Whitlock - Texas   5) Steve Voght - Washington   10 )Cristiano Crolle - Cesano Maderno, Italy   11) Charlie Westerinen - Utah
1, 2) Pair  3 - 6) Female  7 - 11) Male


Garganey Anas querquedula  Found: North America (infrequent), Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia
The male Garganey has brown head and breast, reddish-brown face, broad white crescent over the eye, gray bill and legs. The rest of the plumage is gray. Female Garganey has light area below and in front of its dark eye-line and a light area behind and above the eye-line.
Image by: 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10) Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights     2) Sergey Pisarevskiy - Siberia, Russia   3) Frankie Chu  4) Steve Garvey - Scotland  9) Sandy Cole - Sylvan Heights   10) Cristiano Crolle - Torrile, Italy
1 - 5) Female   7 - 10) Male




Mallard Anas platyrhynchos   Found: The Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia
The breeding male Mallard has a glossy green head; white collar; purple-tinged brown breast; gray belly; yellowish-orange bill tipped with black. Female and nonbreeding male are predominantly mottled with individual feathers varying from buff to dark brown, a coloration shared by most female dabbling ducks. Female and nonbreeding males have dark eye-line and lighter supercilium.
Similar to: female Gadwall. Female Gadwall has a squarer head than female Mallard. Mallard had more pronounced eye-line.
Image by: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) Dick Daniels   4) Alan D Wilson - British Columbia  5) Cristiano Crolle - Germignaga, Italy
2 - 6) Female



Pintail, Northern Anas acuta Found: North America, Europe, Asia, Africa
Both sexes have a long neck. Male has long tail, especially when breeding. Female has plain brown head.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - the North Carolina Zoo   2, 3, 6, 7) Dick - Sylvan Heights    4, 7) Dick - Wyoming   8) Sandy Cole - Sylvan Heights  9) Cristiano Crolle - Racconigi, Italy
1, 2) Pair 3, 4, 5) Female 6 - 8) Male


Shoveler, Cape  Anas smithii  Found: Africa
All shovelers have long bills.
The Cape Shoveler is mottled brown, has dark bill, dull orange legs. The male has yellow eyes, the female brown. Female has the darker head.
Image by: 1) Dick - Sylvan Heights  2, 3) Dick Daniels - Birds of Eden, South Africa 
1) Female  2, 3) Male


Wigeon, Eurasian  Anas penelope    Rare: North America. Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Eurasian Wigeon has white belly, gray legs, small black tipped light bill. The breeding male has gray back and flanks, chestnut head, off white crown that extends to its bill, pink breast. The female is brown. The nonbreeding male resembles the female.
Image by: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights
1, 2, 3) Female 4 - 7) Male




Genus Pteronetta - 1 species

Duck, Hartlaub's Pteronetta hartlaubii Found: African forests
The Harlaub's Duck has chestnut plumage with black head and upper neck, white above base of the bill.
Image by:  1, 2, 3) Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights






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