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< > Tachyeres brachypterus - Falkland steamerduck (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Falkland Flightless Steamer Duck
Logger
Loggerhead
Falkland-Dampfschiffente (German)
Brassemer des Malouines (French)
Canard-vapeur des Iles Falkland (French)
Patovapor Malvinero (Spanish)
Pato vapor malvinero (Spanish)

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

Eclipse

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B3, B4, B8, B19, B25

Aviculture references:
J23.13.w7, B29, B30, B97
N1.101.w1
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

Notes

General information:
  • Steamerducks are territorial and aggressive, requiring a separate enclosure. A deep and preferably large area of water should be provided. Pelleted food including breeder diet and floating diets have been suggested, possibly with added brown bread.

(J23.13.w7, B29, B30)

Species-specific information:

  • Falkland steamerducks are extremely aggressive birds which may kill small ducks, and should be kept in a separate enclosure.
  • A good area of clear running water is required for these ducks. Seaduck diet (Clark & Butcher Ltd., UK) is recommended, although Diet A (Special Diet Services) has been used successfully for feeding adults in the past.
  • These ducks are difficult to breed in captivity. Successful pairing may require that the birds are introduced to one another before they reach one year old
  • Barrels have been preferred for nesting and a barrel covered with turf, on an island, has been chosen, although a large ground box might be used; eggs may be laid end of March to May.
  • Incubation of eggs under a Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata - Muscovy duck), or as a second choice a broody hen, is preferable to artificial incubation.
  • Ducklings have been successfully hand reared with access to swimming water introduced gradually over the second week so that they were on water fully by two weeks old. . Ducklings may be aggressive to newcomers, even with an age difference of only one day separate rearing accommodation may be required.
  • Starter crumbs (Clark & Butcher) supplemented with chopped hard boiled egg is suggested as an initial diet, progressing to Sea Duck grower pellets. Chopped fish (e.g. sand-eel) has also been used, but may cause matting of the down.
  • Prophylactic medication with ketoconazole (12.5mg tablet per duckling from ten days old, increased to 25mg/duckling from 22 days old) has been used in ducklings to reduce the risk of fungal infections (Aspergillosis, Candidiasis).

(B29, B97, N1.101.w1, V.w13).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme suggested average closed ring size: T 20.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length Male 29 inches, 74cm; Female 24 inches, 61cm (B3); 61-74cm (B1)
Adult weight General About 3.4 - 4.442kg (B1)
Male 4.3 - 4.42kg (B3); mean 9.5 lbs. (B8)
Female Average 3.4kg (B3); 7.4 lbs. (B8)
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Bright orange, paler towards tip, with black nail (B3, B25)
Variations (If present) Female:- Olive-grey with yellow base and culmen (B8, B25)
Eyes (Iris) Male Dark brown (B8, B25)
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Dusky-grey (B25)
Eyes (Iris) Dark brown (B25)

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Legs

Adult Male Deep yellow (B8, B25).
Variations (If present) Female:- Yellow (B8, B25).
Juvenile Brownish yellow (B25).

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Plumage

Adult Male Head and neck pale grey with darker mottling on sides of head and near bill, white eyering and eyeline continuing backwards, throat and foreneck mottled brownish, shading to lower foreneck yellowish.

Upperparts and breast blue-grey with darker slate-grey feather edges, and brownish colouring over breast, back and flanks. Abdomen, ventral area and undertail coverts white, tail grey.

Wings dark grey with outer 6-7 secondaries and their greater coverts (speculum) white, primaries grey-black. Large bony knobs on wing.

(B3, B4, B8, B25)

Variations (If present) Female:- Head and neck grey with sides browner, narrow eyering and eyeline distinct, white. Body and wings similar to males but overall redder: maroon-brown feather margins (B4, B25)

Breeding male:- head and neck whiter but still with dark face. (B8, B25)
Males head becomes whiter with age (B3, B8).

Juvenile Similar to female but head and neck dusky brown with eyering white but no eyeline (B3, B4, B25)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts brown-grey with line from bill through eye curving down neck white; underparts pale, continuing as pale grey collar over upper back (B4).
Bill: Dark grey (B40
Feet: Dark grey (B4)

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Variable but peak September to December (B1, B3)
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

Near water, on the ground, concealed in kelp or tussocks of grass, sometimes in old penguin burrows, well-lined with down. Usually along shore, occasionally up to 1km inland (B1, B3, B8, B25).

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 5-6 (B8)
Range 5-10 (B1); 4-11 (B8)
Egg Description Creamy (B4, B8) or buff (B3). Size: 82 x 57mm Weight: 147g (B3).

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Incubation

28-30 days (B8); 28-40 days, about 34 days (B1).

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

120-130 days (B8); about 12 weeks (B1).

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Sexual Maturity

Males Two to three years (B8).
Females Two to three years (B8).

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dive and up-end in shallow water, on incoming tides (B1, B3, B4, B8, B25).
Newly-hatched Dive from a few days old (B3).

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Solitary nests (B1).
Incubation By female, with male defending (B3, B4, B8).
Newly-hatched Tended by both parents (B3, B4, B8)
Juveniles

Driven from territory once independent, congregate in flocks (B4).

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Breeding pairs aggressive and highly territorial (B3, B4, B8, B25). Non-breeding birds form large groups, sometimes of a few hundred birds (B4, B8).
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Life-long monogamous pairs (B4, B8)

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Predation in Wild

Sea lions and perhaps orcas may take adults (B1, B8). Gulls, skuas, caracaras and perhaps rats take eggs (B8). Caracaras, other raptors, skuas, gulls and giant-petrels as well as feral cats take ducklings (B1, B8).

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Activity Patterns

Feed on incoming tide, loaf when tide outgoing (B8, B25)
Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

Mussels, other molluscs and crustaceans (B3, B4, B8).

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Newly-hatched

Amphipods, isopods, snails (B3)

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal

Falkland Islands.

Movements Sedentary; only small scale movements.

(B1, B3, B4, B19, B25, B26)

Occasional and Accidental

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Introduced

--

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Habitat

Rocky shores, particularly small islands and sheltered bays (B1, B8, B19).

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Not globally threatened, abundant along some coasts (B1, B8).

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

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Captive Populations

Very scarce in collections (B8).

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Trade

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