African Black Duck | Anas sparsa

Robert's Birding Information: The African Black Duck

The African Black Duck is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Anatidae bird family group which includes birds such as Ducks, Geese.

The description for the African Black Duck (Latin name Anas sparsa) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Anas sparsa can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 105 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 103. You will find a picture of the African Black Duck on page 97.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the African Black Duck between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The African Black Duck is known in Afrikaans as Swarteend.

The African Black Duck has a height of 58 cms and weighs around 1090 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured grey. The Anas sparsa has a white coloured throat, yellow legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is brown.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is grey.

Legs are yellow.

Throat is white.

Back is brown.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

African Black Duck Feeding Habits ...

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

African Black Duck Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The African Black Duck is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 4 to 9 eggs and they are coloured yellow.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The African Black Duck is normally seen by itself, in pairs or small flocks.