White-backed Ducks

White-backed Ducks (Thalassornis leuconotus)


The White-backed Ducks (Thalassornis leuconotus) is a waterbird of the family Anatidae.

White-backed Ducks Floating on a Water
White-backed Ducks Floating on a Water

It is distinct from all other ducks, but most closely related to the whistling ducks in the subfamily Dendrocygninae, though also showing some similarities to the stiff-tailed ducks in the subfamily Oxyurinae (family Anatidae).

It is the only member of the genus Thalassornis, (Eyton, 1838).

White-backed Duck on a Water
White-backed Duck on a Water

Distribution / Range:

White-backed Ducks live in southern Africa, especially between Senegal and Chad in the west and Ethiopia and South Africa in the east. Their habitat consists of lakes, ponds, swamps and marshes where they are well camouflaged against predators.

There are two subspecies,

  • Thalassornis leuconotus leuconotus and
  • Thalassornis leuconotus insularis. The latter lives entirely on Madagascar and is considered to be endangered by hunting, habitat loss and the introduction of competing exotic species.

The White-backed Duck is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Copyright: Wikipedia. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from … Additional information and photos added by Avianweb.

Diet / Feeding:

White-backed Ducks are excellent divers. They have been observed to stay under water for up to half a minute. Their favored foods are the bulbs of waterlilies.

Ducks generally feed on larvae and pupae usually found under rocks, aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails and crabs.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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