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White-backed Duck - BirdForum Opus

Photo by volker sthamer
Hawassa, Ethiopia,
Thalassornis leuconotus


  • Rufous and dark brown barring
  • White spot at base of black bill
  • White back is visible only in flight


Sub-Saharan Africa
Western Africa: Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola
Eastern Africa: Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, Swaziland,
African Islands: Madagascar



There are two subspecies:

  • T. l. leuconotus
  • T. l. insularis


Lakes, ponds, wetlands and marshes.


A diving duck.


The diet consists mostly of water lily bulbs and also seeds of aquatic plants.


Both sexes build the nest which is located in water grass, reeds or rushes. the vegetation is bent over to form a bowl of plant material drawn in from around the site and padded with green aquatic grass. The clutch consists of 4-9 eggs (1 laid per day). Both adults incubate the eggs for 29-33 days before they hatch. The female incubates at night and for a short time during the day; the male being responsible for the rest of the time. The change-over is preceded by calls, the duck usually approaching under the water.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Avibase
  3. Biodiversity explorer
  4. Wiki

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