What kinds of ducks can you find in the Democratic Republic of 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 Democratic Republic of the Congo. In reality, the complete list of ducks that can be seen is even larger!
7 DUCKS That Live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
#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 the Democratic Republic of the Congo!
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 the Democratic Republic of the Congo!
#2. 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 the Democratic Republic of the Congo 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.
#3. Southern Pochard
- Netta erythrophthalma
- Adults are about 51 cm (20 in) long.
- Their coloring is dark brown to glossy black with white markings.
- Males are largely black with a gray bill and chestnut-colored wings and heads. In the sun, their black feathers can appear green.
- Females have a white patch underneath the eyes.
This is one of the most beautiful ducks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo!
The Southern Pochard prefers to spend its day near deep freshwater lakes. It feels at home in deep water and generally avoids shallow water, rivers, and temporary ponds.
If you spend a lot of time observing this species, you might be concerned by how long they dive to find food! They’re exceptionally comfortable in the water and spend long periods underwater. The Southern Pochard eats aquatic plants, fish, crabs, pupae, larvae, and plant material.
They’re visible in big groups, but like most water birds, they’re known for their monogamous behavior. The male sets out to find a suitable female and attracts her with an elaborate courtship display, including preening, unique calls, and head bobbing.
After mating, the female Southern Pochard lays 4 to 15 eggs. After the young ones hatch, mom takes them for their first outing on the water, where they instinctively swim, dive, and feed. The female protects the youngsters for another 49 to 65 days until they can fly independently.
#4. 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 the Democratic Republic of 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.
#5. 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 the Democratic Republic of 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.
#6. 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 the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 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!
#7. 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 the Democratic Republic of 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.
Check out these guides to other animals found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo!
Which of these ducks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have you seen before?
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