What kinds of ducks can you find in Mozambique?
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 Mozambique. In reality, the complete list of ducks that can be seen is even larger!
8 DUCKS That Live in Mozambique:
#1. Egyptian Goose
- Alopochen aegyptiaca
- Adults are 63–73 cm (25–29 in) long.
- They have long pink legs and a pink bill. Their bodies are light brown with brown wings tipped in green and white. They have a dark brown patch over each eye.
Despite its confusing name, the Egyptian Goose is considered a type of duck in Mozambique!
Egyptian Geese are closely related to shelducks. They prefer meadows, agricultural fields, and grasslands near permanent bodies of water. Their standard meal is grass sprouts and grain, but they won’t say no to a small insect, frog, or worm. Their long, pink legs allow them to wade into relatively deep water for something to eat.
Although you may have trouble spotting this duck in its thickly vegetated habitat, you probably won’t have a hard time hearing it. Males of the species get loud and aggressive during their mating season, constantly making loud, obnoxious honking noises.
The name “Egyptian Goose” comes from the heavy, lumbering way it flies, which more closely resembles a goose than a duck. But whichever name they go by, this fascinating duck is one you should be sure to look for in Mozambique!
#2. Spur-winged Goose
- Plectropterus gambensis
- Adults are 75–115 cm (30–45 in) long.
- Their coloring is predominantly black, with white patched wings, a greenish/bronze sheen, and a white face. Their legs and bill are bright pink to red.
- Males are larger than females and have a larger red facial patch.
- Females are very quiet, smaller, and have less red on the face.
Despite its name, this waterbird is technically not a goose (or a duck)!
The Spur-winged Goose is closely related to both ducks and geese in Mozambique, but it has adapted so well to its environment that it’s different from both of them! Look for these birds near open grasslands with seasonal pools, lakes, swamps, and rivers.
One of the most fascinating adaptations this waterbird has relates to its diet. The Spur-winged Goose eats blister beetles, which contain a toxin known as Cantharidin, an odorless poison that can kill humans and other mammals. These clever birds store the toxin in their flesh, and unsuspecting animals or people can be poisoned by eating them, even after being cooked! You should avoid Spur-winged Goose meat for this reason.
Despite being common in the wetlands of Mozambique, Spur-winged Geese are threatened by human development for housing and agriculture. Because they need water in their habitat, irrigation systems that divert their water supply are particularly harmful.
#3. 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 Mozambique 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.
#4. Red-billed Teal
- Anas erythrorhyncha
- Adults are 43–48 cm (17–19 in) long.
- They have a red bill and a dark brown body. Their heads are white on the cheeks, with a black stripe over the eyes and top of the head.
- Both sexes have the same physical characteristics.
The Red-Billed Teal is a dabbling duck in Mozambique that prefers natural and artificial dams. These ducks are abundant, especially in wetlands with grassy areas with nearby water. They spend most of the day on the water and only go on land at night to feed. As omnivores, their diet consists of plant food, insects, snails, and worms.
Unlike diving ducks, dabbling ducks get most of their food from land or the water’s surface. They don’t dive or fully submerge. So you’re much more likely to see them floating on the surface or walking near the water’s edge.
#5. Knob-billed Duck
- Sarkidiornis melanotos
- Adults are 56-76 cm (22-30 in) long.
- Their head and neck are white and covered in dark, freckle-like spots. They have a white underside, black bill and legs, and gray sides. The tops of their wings and back are covered in glossy-black feathers that shine greenish-blue in the sun.
- Males are significantly larger than females, with a bulky black knob on their bills.
The Knob-billed Duck is the largest duck in Mozambique!
It’s also one of the largest in the world. The bulky knob on its bill makes this duck easy to identify, but that’s a trait that only males have. You’ll find the African Knob-billed duck in open savannas near lakes and large rivers.
Although their diet is mostly aquatic vegetation, these ducks also feed on seeds and invertebrates. Additionally, the Knob-billed Duck is a skillful hunter, and despite its size, it is known to dive underwater to seek out small fish agilely.
Like some other duck species, Knob-billed Ducks breed according to the seasons. They always wait for heavy rains, and males begin to court females once the rainy season is underway.
Males often breed with two females at a time and up to five females during the breeding season. Although the male breeds with multiple females, he is extremely protective and protects both the females and the hatchlings.
#6. Blue-billed Teal
- Spatula hottentota
- Adults are 33–35 cm (13-14 in) long.
- Their coloring is mottled tan and dark brown. They have grey legs, blue bills, a green wing speculum, and a black streak on the top of the head.
- Males have brown crowns and pale faces.
- Females have nearly black crowns, but their wings lack the glossy color found in the males.
You’re unlikely to misidentify this duck in Mozambique!
The Blue-billed Teal is best known for its namesake blue-gray beak, which is usually brighter in males but also visible in females. This species frequents swamps, marshes, lakes, and ponds. Interestingly, they’re often found in rice paddies, where they feed on seeds, plants, fruit, and aquatic invertebrates disturbed by cattle.
Blue-billed Teals are a shy and reclusive species. They might flock in small numbers but never more than ten or so, and mostly, they restrict themselves to living in pairs. They’re most comfortable sleeping on the water but will rest on land if the environment is safe.
The breeding habits of this duck are a bit unusual compared to others. For example, instead of the male approaching a female, the female entices the male to attract him. If the male is interested, he responds by flapping his wings and burping.
#7. Fulvous Whistling-Duck
- Dendrocygna bicolor
- Adults are 45–53 cm (18–21 in) long.
- Their coloring is chestnut over the head, chest, and undersides, with black wings and backs. They have a white patch on the throat and lavender-gray feet and bills.
- Females are smaller, and their colors are slightly duller.
The Fulvous Whistling Duck inhabits swamps, lowland marches, and even flat country, but it avoids wooded areas in Mozambique. This species is an herbivore, mostly feeding on seeds, leaf shoots, bulbs, buds, and aquatic plants.
They show remarkable loyalty to their partners, and the male and female are often monogamous for life. Fulvous Whistling Ducks often act like a human married couple, and the male and female share the incubation and childrearing responsibilities. The female lays about 10 eggs, and surprisingly, the male spends the most time in the nest, protecting and incubating them.
Once the grey ducklings hatch, the parents immediately expose them to the water. They tend to them and stay close by until they fledge, which happens after about nine weeks. To protect the youngsters, the duck acts out a broken wing display to lure predators away!
#8. White-backed Duck
- Thalassornis leuconotus
- 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 Mozambique.
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.
Check out these guides to other animals found in Mozambique!
Which of these ducks in Mozambique have you seen before?
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