What kinds of ducks can you find in Gabon?
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 Gabon. In reality, the complete list of ducks that can be seen is even larger!
3 DUCKS That Live in Gabon:
#1. White-faced Whistling-Duck
- Dendrocygna viduata
- Adults average about 40 cm (16 in) long.
- They have long black necks and heads, gray bills, a long head with dark brown wings, and a white face.
- Both sexes have the same coloring and size.
Look for these ducks in Gabon traveling in gigantic flocks!
White-faced Whistling Ducks are extremely social and travel in groups of thousands of birds. Just before sunset, the flock descends on a lake or pond, and as the name indicates, it does not happen quietly. You can identify this duck by its three-note whistling call, which announces its arrival long before you can see it.
Look for these ducks near lakes, flooded plains, rivers, and wetlands where the flock can stay safe in numbers and feed on seeds, grass, and aquatic invertebrates. They dive underwater from the surface to find food and mostly feed at night.
When it is time for the White-faced Whistling Duck to mate, both the male and female preen to prepare themselves. It’s like getting ready for date night! After mating, the female lays between 6 and 12 eggs in a nest, but they aren’t picky about the nest’s location. They use stick platforms, holes in the ground, or even hollow trees! Female ducks care for their chicks until they can fly.
#2. African Pygmy-Goose
- Nettapus auritus
- Adults are about 30 cm (12 in) long.
- They have short gray legs, stubby beaks, chestnut-colored feathers, and white bellies.
- Males have white faces, green cheeks, and a yellow bill with a black tip.
- Females have a dull greyish face, a green patch on the head, and a dark brown stripe over the eyes.
The African Pygmy Goose is the smallest duck in Gabon!
And, before you ask, that’s not a typo – this “goose” is actually a duck! Its common name comes from the shape of its beak, which looks more like a goose.
These small waterbirds only grow up to 30 cm (12 in) long. Look for them in marshes, shallow lakes, coastal lagoons, and slow-flowing rivers. These ducks love to dive underwater and feed on waterlilies and other aquatic vegetation.
Similar to other aquatic birds, the African Pygmy Goose reproduces either during or after the rainy season. The male and female form a close relationship that often lasts for multiple years.
#3. Hartlaub’s Duck
- Pteronetta hartlaubii
- Adults are 56-58 cm (22-23 in) long.
- Their coloring is chestnut over the body with a black head, bill, and legs. They have bluish-white wing coverts that are just visible on the sides of their bodies.
- Males are larger than females.
Look for this duck in dense forests and marshlands in Gabon.
The Hartlaub’s Duck prefers thick woods or vegetation with nearby small rivers. They’re mostly active at night and feed on seeds, roots, insects, mollusks, crustaceans, and other aquatic invertebrates.
During the breeding and fledging season, male Hartlaub’s Ducks take parenting seriously. While the female builds her nest and lays her eggs, the male protects his family fiercely from predators. A few ways he does this are to call loudly from a distance or use a “broken wing display” to distract the predator and lead it away from his young.
Check out these guides to other animals found in Gabon!
Which of these ducks in Gabon have you seen before?
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