10 Types of Ducks Found in Algeria! (2024)

What kinds of ducks can you find in Algeria?

Types of ducks in algeria

Who doesn’t love ducks? Head to almost any water habitat, and you are likely to see at least a few swimming around.

The ducks featured below are the most common and likely to be observed in Algeria. In reality, the complete list of ducks that can be seen is even larger!

10 DUCKS That Live in Algeria:

#1. Garganey

  • Spatula querquedula

Types of ducks in algeria

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are about 41 cm (16 in) long.
  • Males are gray with a brown chest and head, a dark crown, and large white curves over their eyes. Their mating call is a distinctive crackling honk.
  • Females are brown with a dark eyeline and pale eyebrows. They’re quiet but occasionally manage a feeble quack.

The Garganey is a common duck in Algeria during winter.

As a strict migratory species, the entire population moves north for summer and travels south to avoid cold weather. This is unusual among ducks since most species have at least some year-round residents.

Unlike diving ducks, Garganeys forage for their food just below the water’s surface, skimming aquatic plants and insects. They dip their bill into the water and shake their heads often, which makes them look like they’re washing their faces. 🙂

But their feeding style isn’t the only thing that’s a little quirky about the Garganey. When calling, the male makes an exaggerated nodding motion with his head and neck, then releases a shrill clicking noise that sounds like a bug! Finally, he shakes his tail feathers rapidly as if he’s dancing. It’s truly something to watch!

#2. White-backed Duck

  • Thalassornis leuconotus

Types of ducks in algeria

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 38-40 cm (15-16 in) long.
  • Their coloring is mottled brown and black all over the body and face. They have black bills with yellow blotches and a white patch at the base.
  • Both sexes look alike.

Look for this duck in shallow lakes and ponds in Algeria.

The White-backed Duck is well-adapted for diving. They generally avoid open water and prefer shallow water with lots of vegetation, where they feed on seeds, grass, and aquatic invertebrates at night.

The male and female have a close breeding relationship, and after mating, the male helps with all the chores around the nest. They work together to build the nest out of plant material and line it with aquatic grass. Usually, the nests are constructed to drift on the water between reeds, but sometimes, these ducks place them on the ground close to the water.

Although unusual for ducks and waterbirds, White-backed Ducks breed throughout the year. While they are nesting and hatching, the male protects the female and the chicks. After the youngsters hatch, both parents stay with them until they can fly independently and leave the nest.

#3. Ruddy Shelduck

  • Tadorna ferruginea

Types of ducks in algeria

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 58 to 70 cm (23 to 28 in) long.
  • Their coloring is cinnamon on the body with a black tail and wings. They have black bills and legs, a pale cream head, and a greenish speculum on the wings.
  • Males are larger and brighter in color than females.

The Ruddy Shelduck is one of the most beautiful ducks in Algeria!

Its orange coloring and white highlights make it beautiful to look at. However, it can be tough to catch a glimpse because this unique bird is predominantly nocturnal.

Ruddy Shelducks prefer large inland lakes and reservoirs with plenty of cleared land. They’re seldom found in forested areas and prefer lowlands over mountains. Interestingly, this species doesn’t build nests for its eggs. Instead, Ruddy Shelducks use old animal burrows or tree holes for nesting sites. They often choose places far away from water, which helps protect the eggs from predators.

In my opinion, these ducks have one of the most adorable calls! They sound like a nasally “ooh-ah!” and repeat that noise as they walk the shore looking for food.

#4. Ferruginous Duck

  • Aythya nyroca

Types of ducks in algeria

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 38–42 cm (15-17 in) long.
  • Their coloring is chestnut on the body and head with a white underwing and belly. They have black bills and legs.
  • Males have yellowish-white eyes, while females’ eyes are dark brown.

You can find this duck in Algeria during the winter months.

The Ferruginous Duck inhabits slow-moving or still, quiet waters and avoids rivers and fast-flowing streams. They feed at night on small fish, aquatic plants, insects, and mollusks found in shallow mudflats and vegetated wetlands.

This dabbling duck loves socializing with others, even those of other species. They’re often seen in large flocks, especially during the winter. Flocks get smaller as males and females pair off to breed starting in January. The male sets out to lure a female by curling his tail to form a triangular white patch to catch her attention.

After breeding, the female lays eggs in a floating nest or on the ground near the water. Then, the females stay with the hatchlings until they can fly on their own. These ducks nest in colonies and well-protected areas like islands, so you’re likely to see a large group of nests with chicks during the breeding season.

#5. Mallard

  • Anas platyrhynchos

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 50–65 cm (20–26 in) long.
  • Males have a bright green head, thin white collar, dark reddish-brown chest, yellow bill, and a black rear with a white-tipped tail.
  • Females are mottled brown with orange and brown bills.
  • Both sexes have purple-blue secondary feathers on their wing, most visible when standing or flying.

My guess is that almost everyone is familiar with the Mallard. These ducks are often seen in Algeria living around people! Because they are so comfortable around humans, these adaptable ducks are widespread around the world.

When you think of a duck quacking, it is almost inevitably a female Mallard. If there is a better duck sound, we haven’t heard it! Interestingly, males do not quack like females but, instead, make a raspy call.

#6. Northern Shoveler

  • Spatula clypeata

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Males have reddish-brown flanks, green heads, a white chest, black backs, and yellow eyes.
  • Females are brown, and sometimes you can see a bluish shoulder patch.
  • Both sexes have distinctive bills, which are large and wide!

If you only glance at the green head, casual observers in Algeria might accidentally think these ducks are Mallards. But one look up close, and you should notice the ENORMOUS spoon-shaped bill, which is how Northern Shovelers got their name.

They use their large bill to shovel and sift through mud and sand to find tasty tidbits like crustaceans, mollusks, and buried aquatic insects. Interestingly, their bill has over 100 tiny projections on the edges called lamellae that help filter out the food they want to eat. An interesting behavior observed with Northern Shovelers is their ability to “team up” to find food. Flocks of them will sometimes swim in circles together to help stir up food!

Males make a guttural “took-took” sound during courtship, when alarmed, and in flight. Females make a nasally-sounding quack.

#7. White-headed Duck

  • Aix sponsa

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Males are mottled brown over the body, with a white head. In the summertime, their bills are brilliant blue.
  • Females are also mottled brown, with a black and white head and a gray-brown bill.

Although this duck in Algeria is named for the color of its head, that’s not its most striking feature.

It might seem unbelievable, but during the breeding season, males have a bright blue bill! This is likely used as a way to attract a mate, as a stronger bill color signals a higher breeding potential.

While females lack bright-colored bills, they have the same basic shape, making them easy to identify. White-headed Ducks live in areas with large expanses of open water. They don’t mind human-altered environments like reservoirs or drainage ponds. As a result, you’re as likely to see this species in the city as in a more remote area.

White-headed Ducks are hesitant to fly, especially while on the water. They’re much more likely to swim away from danger than to fly. Additionally, they eat the majority of their food while on the water. Even though they mostly eat aquatic vegetation, White-headed Ducks are omnivorous and eat insects, small fish, and tadpoles. 

#8. Marbled Teal

  • Marmaronetta angustirostris

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults’ coloring is pale brown with cream blotches. They have a dark cap extending to the bottom of the eye, and the head has a fringed crown.
  • Juveniles have many more blotches of pale coloring, which darken as they age.
  • They have a blocky, rectangular head and an upturned bill.

The unique-looking Marbled Teal prefers temporary ponds and marshlands in Algeria created by heavy rain. It spends most of its time in large groups, sometimes numbering up to 40,000 birds! These social birds congregate for protection from predators, as well as to find new mates and form family groups.

Aside from the mating call of the male, which is a muted “jeep” noise, Marbled Teals are relatively quiet. They don’t make much noise even when disturbed, preferring to take flight or swim away quickly.

Interestingly, Marbled Teals eat different foods depending on the season. As they ramp up for breeding, they consume more insects and flies. Then, during the autumn and winter months, they switch to eating small seeds.

#9. Red-crested Pochard

  • Netta rufina

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Males have bright red bills and eyes, a chestnut head, and brown, black, and white bodies.
  • Females are a soft, dusty brown with a pale gray neck and a black bill with a red-orange tip.

Like other ducks in Algeria, the Red-crested Pochard is highly social and forms large flocks.

You’re likely to find them in lowland marshes, where they spend their time in the water and among low vegetation. Some populations are year-round residents, although northern ducks migrate south for the winter. 

Red-crested Pochards are comfortable around people and often make their homes in city parks! However, they stay near water, so parks with rivers or lakes are always the best place to look.

Did you know that bread isn’t good for ducks? Even though many people feed ducks stale bread, it’s hard for them to digest. Instead of bread, crackers, or table scraps, try feeding ducks cracked corn, oats, rice, birdseed, frozen peas, chopped lettuce, or sliced grapes. Ducks, including Red-crested Pochards, will be grateful!

You can also listen for this duck’s distinctive call. Males make a wheezy “veht” while females give a series of rasping “vrah-vrah-vrah” noises.

#10. Green-winged Teal

  • Anas carolinensis

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Males have chestnut-brown heads and a green ear patch. Their beautiful gray-barred bodies have vertical white stripes on each side.
  • Females have a dark eye-line and are mottled brown throughout.
  • Both sexes have a green patch on their wing, which is visible in flight and most of the time when resting.

Green-winged Teals are one of the smallest ducks you will find in Algeria. They are only 31-39 cm (12-15 inches) in length and weigh between 5 and 18 ounces (140-500 g).

These birds often travel and hang out with other species. Look closely for the smallest duck in a mixed flock; there is a good chance it’s a Green-winged Teal. Even females, which look similar to female Mallards, should stand out because they are noticeably smaller!

Males give a short, clear, repeated whistle, a unique sound for a duck if you ask me! Females often give a series of quacks at any time of the year.

Check out these guides to other animals found in Algeria!

Which of these ducks in Algeria have you seen before?

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