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Pacific Black Duck
Alternative names: (Maori) Parera, Grey Duck
Mostly mid-brown in colour, with buff edged feathers. There is a dark brown line through the eye, bordered with cream above and below and a dark brown crown. The upper wing colour is brown, with a bright glossy green patch in the secondary flight feathers. The white underwing is conspicuous in flight. Young Pacific Black Ducks are similar to the adults in plumage. Females are similar, but the head stripes are lighter, and the crown brown instead of black. There is no seasonal variation in plumage.
Australia and throughout the Pacific region.
The New Zealand subspecies has declined sharply in numbers, at least in its pure form, due to competition from and hybridisation with the introduced Mallard.
All types of water, from isolated forest pools to tidal mudflats.
These birds are seen in pairs or small flocks.
Its diet includes the seeds of aquatic plants, small crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic insects. Food is obtained by 'dabbling', where the bird plunges its head and neck underwater and upends, raising its rear end vertically out of the water. Occasionally, food is sought on land in damp grassy areas.
Courtship is accompanied by ritualised displays including preening, bobbing and wing-flapping. This behaviour is often initiated by the female, and, other than copulation, the male helps little in the breeding process. Often, two broods will be raised in a year.
The number of offspring produced may seem quite high, but only 20% of these will survive past two years of age.
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