Patagonian Crested Duck
The Patagonian Crested Duck, also known as the southern crested duck, or the grey duck in the Falkland Islands, is the nominate of two subspecies of the crested duck.
Appearance: – The Patagonian Crested Duck has a greyish face, dark-brown crown, grey crest, red eyes, black beak, pale neck, a mottled brown and grey body, dark tail, and dark grey or black legs and feet. Both sexes are alike.
Size: – Typical Adult is 19-23 inches.
Food: – Aquatic invertebrates, insects, larvae, crustaceans, molluscs and some aquatic plants.
Habitat: – Marshlands, lakes, swamps, pools, and sheltered bays by the coast. This is a non-migratory duck that is found in South America – Chile, Argentina, and the Falkland Islands.
Breeding Season: – January to March in Andes, October to December further south.
Eggs: – 5 to 8 (cream color).
Notes: – The Patagonian Crested Duck is sometimes called the Southern Crested Duck or Grey Duck in the Falkland Islands. This duck along with the rarer Andean Duck are considered sub-species of the Crested Duck. The Patagonian Crested Duck is not endangered and there are thought to be 10,000 breeding pairs in the Falkland Islands alone.
- Ducks are part of the bird family Anatidae, and there are species of wild ducks found worldwide on every continent except Antarctica.
- A baby duck is called a duckling, and an adult male is a drake. An adult female duck is called a hen or a duck, and a group of ducks can be called a raft, team or paddling.
- All wild ducks have highly waterproof feathers as a result of an intricate feather structure and a waxy coating that is spread on each feather while preening. A duck’s feathers are so waterproof that even when the duck dives underwater, its downy under-layer of feathers will stay completely dry.
- Ducks are precocial, which means that ducklings are covered with down and able to walk and leave the nest just a few hours after hatching.
- A hen will lead her ducklings up to a half mile or more over land after hatching in order to find a suitable water source for swimming and feeding.
- Male wild ducks have an eclipse plumage similar to females that they wear after the breeding season for about a month as their new feathers grow. During that month, they are completely flightless and more vulnerable to predators.
- Most wild duck species are monogamous for a breeding season but they do not mate for life.
- When constructing her nest, a hen will line it with soft down feathers she plucks from her own breast. This gives the eggs the best possible cushioning and insulation.
- Wild ducks are omnivorous, opportunistic eaters and will eat grass, aquatic plants, insects, seeds, fruit, fish, crustaceans and other types of food.
- A duck’s bill is specialized to help it forage in mud and to strain food from the water. A hard nail at the tip of the bill helps with foraging, and a comb-like structure on the sides of the bill strains small insects and crustaceans from water.
- Most male ducks are silent and very few ducks actually “quack.” Instead, their calls may include squeaks, grunts, groans, chirps, whistles, brays and growls.
- Ducks have been domesticated as pets and farm animals for more than 500 years, and all domestic ducks are descended from either the mallard or the Muscovy duck.
- There are more than 40 breeds of domestic duck. The white Pekin duck (also called the Long Island duck) is the most common variety raised for eggs and meat.