The red-billed duck belongs to the duck family, anseriformes.
External signs of a red-billed duck
The red-billed duck reaches sizes from 43 to 48 cm.Red-billed duck
The color of the plumage is dark brown with white stripes in the form of teeth along the edge of the feathers. On the head is a blackish cap, the same color of the nape, contrasting with the light plumage of the face. The beak is bright red. During the flight, secondary fly feathers of a dull yellowish hue with a transverse black stripe between them are noticeable. The color of the feather cover of the female and male is the same. Young red-billed ducks have a paler plumage than adult birds.
Red-billed duck spread
Red-billed duck spreads in East and South Africa. This species has a wide range, which includes Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea. It lives in Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia. It occurs in Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania. Distributed in Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar.Red-billed duck spreads in East and South Africa
Features of the behavior of the red-billed duck
Red-billed ducks are mostly sedentary or nomadic, but can fly long distances, breaking up to 1800 km in the dry season. Birds ringed in South Africa have been found in Namibia, Angola, Zambia and Mozambique. Red-billed ducks are social and sociable in mating season, and towards the end of the dry season or at the beginning of the rainy season. They form huge clusters in which the number of birds reaches several thousand individuals. One flock was estimated at 500,000; it was observed on Lake Ngami in Botswana.
In the dry season, adult birds pass a molting period of 24 - 28 days and cannot climb to the wing.
At this time, red-billed ducks are predominantly nocturnal during the rainy season. They graze in shallow water, collecting aquatic invertebrates during the day, and swim at night among aquatic vegetation.Red-billed ducks are mostly sedentary or nomadic.
Red-billed duck habitats
Red-duck ducks prefer small freshwater biotopes with a large number of underwater and floating in shallow water plants. Suitable habitats are located on lakes, swamps, small rivers, seasonal pools limited by dams on farms. They live on ponds and temporarily flooded fields. This species of ducks is also found on land in rice and other crops, especially in fields with stubble where unassembled grains remain.
During the dry season, red-billed ducks regularly appear in small numbers on scattered drying temporary ponds in semi-arid areas, although at that time they just survive the process and stay mainly in large open ponds in surface vegetation.Red-billed ducks feed among aquatic vegetation
Red-billed duck feeding
Red-billed ducks feed among aquatic vegetation or in fields with stubble mainly in the evening or at night.
This species of duck is omnivorous. They eat:
- grains of agricultural plants, seeds, fruits, roots, rhizomes and stems of aquatic plants, especially sedge;
- aquatic mollusks, insects (mainly beetles), crustaceans, worms, tadpoles and small fish.
In South Africa, during the breeding season, birds eat the seeds of terrestrial plants (millet, sorghum) mixed with some invertebrates.Red-billed ducks breed in South Africa from December to April
Red-billed duck breeding
Red-billed ducks breed in South Africa from December to April. The most favorable period falls on the summer months. But the nesting dates may shift depending on the water level in the reservoirs during the rainy season. Usually begins nesting in the wet period. Pairs are formed for a long time, but such a permanent relationship does not appear in all individuals.
The nest is a depression in a heap of grass and is located on the ground among dense vegetation, usually near water.
The male sometimes keeps near the nest and guards the female and masonry. The female lays 5 to 12 eggs. Hatches a laying from 25 to 28 days. Chicks fledge completely in two months.Pairs are formed for a long time, but such a permanent relationship does not appear in all individuals.
Red-billed duck in captivity
Red-duck duck is kept in open-air cages in summer. The minimum size of the room is about 3 square meters. In winter, this species of ducks needs more comfortable conditions, therefore, red-billed ducks are moved to a warmed aviary, in which the temperature drops below +15 ° С. Set perches from branches, laths or perches. Be sure to place a container with running or constantly updated water in the enclosure. In places of rest they place hay from grassy plants.In captivity, red-billed ducks in summer are kept in free cages.
Red-billed ducks are fed grains of wheat, corn, millet, barley. You can give oatmeal, wheat bran, sunflower and soybean meal. As a top dressing, use fish, grass, meat and bone meal, small shells, chalk, gammarus. In spring and summer, you can feed the birds with various greens - lettuce, dandelion, plantain. Birds grow well on wet fodder from grated carrots with the addition of bran and various cereals.
During the breeding season and during molting, the red-billed ducks are given separate meat and fish mince. This species of ducks coexists with other species of ducks in the same room and pond. In captivity, life expectancy is about 30 years.Birds grow well on wet food.
The conservation status of the red-billed duck
The red-billed duck is a fairly widespread species in places of its range. In nature, there is a slight decrease in the number of individuals of this species, but it is not going at a very fast pace, so that it can be said about the threats to the red-billed duck. There is a potential danger from the parasitism of leeches Theromyzon cooperi and Placobdella garoui, which infect birds and lead to death.
In Madagascar, the habitat of the species is threatened by a change in habitat.
In addition, the red-billed duck is considered an object of fishing and sporting hunting, which inflict damage on the number of birds. By the main criteria that apply to rare species, the red-billed duck does not fall into the vulnerable category.