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< >  Anas laysanensis - Laysan duck (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Laysan teal
Anas platyrhynchos laysanensis

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


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Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

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

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

Other References

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

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques


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Aviculture Information


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:

  • Laysan ducks (Laysan teal) are easy-going with a friendly personality; they are suitable for mixed collections.The enclosure should contain water, loafing areas and cover. Feed with wheat, pellets, greenfood, grass, bread.
  • This duck breeds well in captivity; they normally lay end of April to June, ground-level nest boxes and good close ground cover should be provided for breeding. The ducklings may be parent or hand reared. 

(B29, B30, B40, B94, B96).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average ring size: J 9.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 35-40 cm, 14-16 inches (B25).
Adult weight General --
Male Mean 447g (B25); mean 15.7 ounces (B8).
Female Mean 451g (B25); mean 15.9 ounces (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Adult Bill Male Dull green, with dusky nail and culmen patch.
Variations (If present) --
Eyes (Iris) Male Brown.
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Grey-green.
Eyes (Iris) Brown.

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Adult Male Orange.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Orange.

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Adult Male Head and neck blackish-brown with a white patch around the eye, sometimes extensive, sometimes with general speckling of white feathers on the sides of the face. Breast, underparts and upperparts reddish brown with darker feather markings.

Tail sometimes has upcurled central feathers. Wing has green secondaries with black subterminal band and white tips.

Variations (If present) Female: Tail feathers not upcurled, secondaries brown rather than green.

Older birds: White on head tends to increase with age.

Juvenile Similar to female.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Mallard-type but smaller. Upperparts brown with indistinct paler markings, underparts buff, dark eyeline.
Bill: Dark grey.
Feet: Dark grey.

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Reproductive Season

Time of year Mainly May to July.
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

On the ground, under bushes or in grass clumps, usually near the central lagoon on Laysan Island.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average --
Range 4-8 (B8)
Egg Description Greenish-white (B5, B8). Size: 55 x 38mm (B5).

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26 days (B8).

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50-60 days (B8).

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Sexual Maturity

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

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Feeding Behaviour

Adults Often forage while walking, also up-end in the lagoon.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By female only.
Incubation By female only.
Newly-hatched Tended by female only


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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Usually found as pairs or in small groups, but gather in larger flocks for the moult after breeding.
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Pair bonds are semi-permanent: many birds choose the same mate each year.

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Predation in Wild


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Activity Patterns

Fairly terrestrial, rarely seen flying (although perfectly capable of flight).
Circadian Mainly nocturnal in feeding.

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Natural Diet


Mainly insects, insect larvae and crustaceans (flies, beetles, moths, brine shrimp).

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)


Laysan Island (western Hawaiian island).

Occasional and Accidental




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Whole island of Laysan, including the seashore. Brackish lagoons, dense brush, sedges.

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Intraspecific variation


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Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Small population on Laysan, sometimes exceeding 500 but with reductions due to storms and severe drought. Whole population may have descended from one female. (B8). May be considered Critically Endangered (B44.9.w1).

CITES listing CITES I (B1).
Red-data book listing Vulnerable (W2).
Threats Habitat loss, introduced species, small range (B44.9.w1).

Destruction of vegetation by introduced rabbits was a major factor in the severe decline of this population early in the 20th Century (B8).

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Captive Populations

Common and popular in collections.

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