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Males have a bright rosy red bill with a bulbous basal shield that increases in size and colour during the breeding season. They are purplish black on head and neck. The breast and back are black with abdomen and flanks finely vermiculated black and white. The legs and feet are yellow to orange. Females are almost all brown, with a darker back. The bill is bluish and the legs and feet are orange/yellow to grey.
This species is monotypic.
Found in areas around lakes with dense vegetation. Marshes, shallow waters, duckweed covered ponds, swamps, small lakes with abundant floating vegetation.
Diet includes seeds, roots and aquatic plants which they eat by dabbling.
10 to 14 eggs are laid and are incubated for about 27 days.
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