Kingdoms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Anseriformes / Anatidae / Anas / Species
< >  Anas undulata - Yellow-billed duck (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
Click on photograph for full-screen view Click on photograph for full-screen view Click on photograph for full-screen view Click on photograph for full-screen view Click Photo for full-page view

INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

Click image to return to Waterfowl Contents FlowchartCONTENTS
(Waterfowl)

Click image for list of Waterfowl Species

Click image for list of Waterfowl Agents
Click image for list of Waterfowl Diseases
Click image for list of Waterfowl Environmental Events / Factors

Return to top of page

General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Yellowbill
African yellowbill
African yellow-billed duck
Gelbschnabelente (German)
Canard à bec jaune (French)
Anade picolimón (Spanish)
Pato africana de pico amarillo (Spanish)
Anas undulata undulata south African yellow-billed duck
Anas undulata ruppelli Abyssinian yellow-billed duck

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

--

Return to top of page

References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B3, B5, B8, B19, B25, B26.

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B31, B40, B94, B97, B128.w1, B128.w2
D1, D8

Other References

--
Click image for main Reference Section

Return to top of page

TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  •  

Return to top of page

Aviculture Information

Notes

General Information:
  • Dabbling Ducks are generally hardy, easy to maintain and easy to breed. Shelter may be required by some of the smaller species in winter. They should be provided with cover (including marginal pond cover) and loafing areas as well as water. A pen which is 50% water is suggested. The water may be shallow (i.e. no more than two feet deep is required), and muddy areas for dabbling in are also appreciated. These ducks are generally good in mixed collections, although the smaller and quieter species may be bullied. Territorial disputes between ducks of the same species may be avoided by keeping only one pair of each species in an enclosure, unless the area is very large. For a single pair of ducks a pen are of 50 to 100 square metres, depending on the size of duck, should be provided.
  • A diet based on wheat and pellets is suggested, with maintenance pellets changed to breeders pellets for the breeding season. Bread and greenfood are also appreciated. Grit should always be available, with soluble grit (e.g. oystershell grit) as a calcium source when breeding.
  • Most species are ground nesters and both close ground cover and ground level nest boxes should be provided. Hand-rearing is generally preferred, as these ducks are generally poor parents in captive conditions, particularly in enclosures shared with other waterfowl. These ducks are prone to hybridization, particularly with closely related species, which should be kept apart from one another.

(B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B128.w1, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • Yellow-billed ducks are hardy and not difficult to keep. Cover and loafing areas should be provided as well as water.
  • These ducks are easily bred and prolific; they may use natural cover or a nest box for nesting, and favour islands. Usually lay April to June.
  • Readily hybridise with closely-related species and should be maintained separately from such species. Hybrids also have been reported with Netta peposaca - Rosy-billed pochard, Netta rufina - Red-crested pochard and Aix sponsa - Wood duck.

(B29, B30, B31, B97, B128.w2).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average closed ring size: M 12.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

--
Click image for main Aviculture Section

Return to top of page

External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 20-23 inches, 51-58cm (B3, B1).
Adult weight General 630-1208g (B1).
Male 678-1208g, average 954g; mean 2.1 lbs. (B8).
Female 630-1114g, average 817g (B3); mean 1.8 lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

Return to top of page

Head

Adult Bill Male Bright yellow, black stripe down culmen (not reaching end of bill), black nail and cutting edges
Variations (If present) Female has paler yellow bill.

Anas undulata ruppelli more yellow-orange.

Eyes (Iris) Male Brown.
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill --
Eyes (Iris) Brown.

Return to top of page

Legs

Adult Male Variable: yellow to red-brown to grey-black.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Variable: yellow to red-brown to grey-black.

Return to top of page

Plumage

Adult Male Head and neck blackish grey with pale streaking, upperparts and underparts dark brown with pale feather edges.

Wing has secondaries iridescent green, bordered in black and with white feather tips. White tips also to dark grey greater coverts (speculum green bordered with black and white).

Variations (If present) Anas undulata ruppelli darker (narrower pale feather edging), secondaries iridescent blue rather than green.
Juvenile Coarser head and neck streaking, wider pale feather fringing, fringes broken into spots on underparts.

Return to top of page

Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts dark brown with yellow markings, underparts yellow. Face very yellow, with short dark eyeline and dark ear spot..
Bill: Grey with yellow sides.
Feet: Grey.

Return to top of page

Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Variable, extended breeding season but peak usually in rainy season. Opportunistic.
No. of Clutches --

Return to top of page

Nest placement and structure

In thick vegetation near water.

Return to top of page

Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average --
Range 4-12 eggs.
Egg Description Pale cream-yellow or buff. Size: 56 x 41mm, weight: 55g.

Return to top of page

Incubation

26-29 days (B1, B8).

Return to top of page

Hatching

Synchronous.

Return to top of page

Fledging

About 68 days (B1); 65-70 days (B8).

Return to top of page

Sexual Maturity

Males Presumed Anas standard: one year old.
Females Presumed Anas standard: one year old.

Return to top of page

Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dabble, up-end, dive in shallows, also graze on land.
Newly-hatched --

Return to top of page

Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By female only.
Incubation By female.
Newly-hatched Tended by female only. Broods sometimes merge, so ducklings seen with two adult ducks.
Juveniles

Remain with female for about six weeks after fledging.

Return to top of page

Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Gregarious, forming large flocks in the dry season.
Inter-specific --

Return to top of page

Sexual Behaviour

Seasonal monogamy. Male leaves mate once incubating.

Return to top of page

Predation in Wild

--

Return to top of page

Activity Patterns

May travel some distance from loafing areas to feed.
Circadian Feed mainly at dusk and after dark

Return to top of page

Natural Diet

Adults

Seeds, green parts and roots of aquatic and terrestrial plants, also invertebrates – insects and insect larvae, molluscs, crustaceans.

Return to top of page

Newly-hatched

Invertebrates.

Return to top of page

Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Anas undulata ruppelli southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, northern Kenya

Anas undulata undulata southern Kenya, westward to Angola, southward through southern Africa to Cape Province

Mainly sedentary/local movements, some longer distances.

Occasional and Accidental

Anas undulata ruppelli recorded west to Cameroon.

Introduced

--

Return to top of page

Habitat

Freshwaters – lakes, swamps, marshes, flooded fields, reservoirs, slow-flowing rivers, also brackish coastal lagoons, and estuaries.

To 3890m in Ethiopia, otherwise usually lowlands

Return to top of page

Conservation

Intraspecific variation

Anas undulata undulata south African yellow-billed duck
Anas undulata ruppelli Abyssinian yellow-billed duck

Return to top of page

Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Not threatened. Common and widespread (B1).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats  

Return to top of page

Captive Populations

Anas undulata undulata reasonable common in collections (B8).

Return to top of page

Trade

--

Return to top of page