3 Types of Ducks Found in the Congo! (2024)

What kinds of ducks can you find in the Congo?

Types of ducks in the Congo

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 the Congo. In reality, the complete list of ducks that can be seen is even larger!

3 DUCKS That Live in the Congo:


#1. Knob-billed Duck

  • Sarkidiornis melanotos

Types of ducks in the Congo

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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 the Congo!

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.

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#2. African Pygmy-Goose

  • Nettapus auritus

Types of ducks in the CongoIdentifying Characteristics:

  • 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 the Congo!

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.

YouTube video

#3. Hartlaub’s Duck

  • Pteronetta hartlaubii

Types of ducks in the CongoIdentifying Characteristics:

  • 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 the Congo.

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.

YouTube video

Check out these guides to other animals found in the Congo!


Which of these ducks in the Congo have you seen before?

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