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Pacific Black Duck - BirdForum Opus

Male
Photo © by julien
Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia, September 2004

Alternative names: (Maori) Parera, Grey Duck

Anas superciliosa

Identification

Female with ducklings
Photo © by Hans&Judy Beste
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, 27 December 2012

47–61 cm (18½-24 in.)

  • Body colour varies from brown to black with pale feather edges
  • Dark brown or black crown
  • Bold cream supercilium
  • Dark brown line through the eye
  • Cream band below the eye
  • Bluish-green iridescent speculum

Sexes are similar but males average larger.

Similar Species

Similar to the female Mallard which has been introduced into Australia and New Zealand from the Northern Hemisphere. The two species will interbreed in situations where Mallards have been released. Female Mallards are paler, have a blue speculum bordered with white, an orange bill with gray saddle and a less pronounced face pattern.

Distribution

Downy young
Photo © by Rose Fletcher
Torrens River Linear Park, Adelaide, South Australia, 14 October 2008

Asia and Australasia
Southeast Asia: Borneo, Indonesia, Greater Sundas, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Lesser Sundas, Moluccas, East Timor
Australasia: New Guinea. Australia: New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, New Zealand, Melanesia, Samoa, Micronesia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Grand Terre

Taxonomy

Formerly lumped with the Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha)

Subspecies

Photo © by Ken Doy
Sandy Camp Rd Wetlands, Brisbane, Australia, 9 January 2015

Two subspecies are currently recognized:[1]

  • A. s. superciliosa:
  • A. s. pelewensis:

The subspecies A. s. rogersi formerly attributed to the Sundas to southern New Guinea, Australia and Tasmania is now merged with nominate A. s. superciliosa.

The New Zealand population has declined sharply in numbers, at least in its pure form, due to competition from and hybridisation with the introduced Mallard.

Habitat

A wide variety of water habitats, preferably with a lot of vegetation and low salinity.

Behaviour

These birds are seen in pairs or small flocks.

Diet

A dabbling duck; their diet consists mostly of aquatic and marginal plant seeds. Also small crustaceans, molluscs. They occasionally feed on land.

Breeding

Nests on the ground under cover or sometimes in tree forks or epiphytes. The nest bowl made of debris at the site lined with plucked breast feathers and down. The clutch of 8-10 whitish to pale green eggs is incubated for 26-29 days. The female often initiates courtship and displays include preening, bobbing and wing-flapping. 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.

Vocalisation

Females give a decrescendo call of about 6 loud quacks in a row, soft quacks communicate with ducklings, and a rapid gag gag gag repulsion call in courtship displays and when pursued by males. Males give soft raeb raeb call of variable length.

Movements

Mostly sedentary, but some dispersive movements, especially from Australian inland areas in response to drought.

References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/52880 on 23 December 2019).
  4. Birds in Backyards
  5. Marchant, S.J.; Higgins, P. (eds) 1990. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds, Volume 1, Part B. Oxford University Press, Melbourne, Australia.
  6. Williams, M.J. 2013. Grey duck. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz

Recommended Citation

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