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38-40 cm length. Brown back and crown, black and white barred sides and black eye patches, white face. Juveniles are slightly duller.
It is the only living member of the genus Malacorhynchus; a closely related, but slightly larger extinct form from New Zealand was described as Scarlett's Duck (Malacorhynchus scarletti).
Anywhere there is standing water.
Diet includes plankton, as well as crustaceans, mollusks and insects.
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