African Black Duck, Anas sparsa

The African Black Duck, (Anas sparsa), is a species of duck. Though it is a member of the genus Anas, it is genetically close in relation to the mallard group. Even with some peculiarities in behavior and plumage, it has been placed in the subgenus Melananas. It is found in central and southern Africa. It is also commonly known as the Black River Duck, West African Duck or Ethiopian Black Duck.

The African Black Duck is almost an entirely black duck with white markings on its back. This very shy and terrestrial bird is usually seen in pairs or small flocks. The male is bigger than the female.

This duck breeds throughout the year in different locales of its region. The female lays 4 to 8 eggs and incubates them for about 30 days. Once the young hatch they will remain with the mother for about 86 days before fledging. The mother takes care of the young solely.

Though it likes to wade in rivers and streams during the day, it prefers large open waters at night. It prefers water in the wooded hills of Africa and likes to hide in nests near running water. It makes its cup shaped nest of driftwood and matted grass.

The diet of the African Black Duck is larvae and pupae typically found under rocks, aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails, and crabs.

Image Caption: African Black Duck at World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary in Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: Dick Daniels / Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)