Comb (Knob-billed) Duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos)Comb (Knob-billed) Duck FemaleOther names:
French: Canard à bosse
Dutch: Knobbeleend, PronkeendPhysical characteristics:
The Old World Comb Ducks have a black bill with a comb on two-thirds of it. The comb is so prominent that it can be seen even while the duck is in flight. The male comb duck has a wingspan that varies from 347 to 384mm and the females’ wingspan varies from 273 to 300mm. Males are about double the size of the female. During breeding season the male’s comb will become larger than normal. Females have a black bill but do not have a comb. Both sexes are generally black and white; the male’s back feathers are glossy green and white and the females tend to have more spotted heads. Both sexes have white underbellies.
Baby comb ducks have brown feathers on their heads and their upper bodies and their under-bellies are white. The area under their eyes is white and their wings are green. Distribution and habitat:
Old World Comb Ducks enjoy grass savanna woodlands with lagoons or open water that are not close to humans. They range widely throughout sub-Saharan Africa; from Abu Simbal in Southern Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa and Madagascar. It prefers lowland areas, but has been found at elevations as high as 3,505meters. Behavior:
Old World Comb Ducks are able to cling to trees branches with their powerful nails. When migrating, they fly in irregular formations or in a V-formation and they make a loud swishing sound as their wings flap. They are often found alone or in small groups, but during the dry season they will sometimes gather in flocks of a hundred non-breeding birds; sometimes in sexually segregated groups. They have also been known to associate with other water birds. Their call sounds like a short raspy whistle or a croak. Different sounds may be made by different sexes. These ducks are mostly polygamous. Although they are generally polygamous, they will become monogamous when the population is small enough.
A drake might mate with two hens at the same time, which is called harem polygamy. Or the drake can mate with up to five different females in succession called successive polygamy. The drake will breed on the nesting grounds of the hens. Although the drake will protect its hens, it will not protect the hen’s nesting sights. Hens that have not mated during breeding season may try to join a group of ducks if the “queen” females accept them. Male Comb Ducks that do not have a mate will perch in trees watching the different groups swooping down to mate with a hen. When this occurs the attending drake will attack the intruder, who usually flees. The fleeing male will continue to stay nearby waiting for another opportunity to mate another female. Comb Ducks are generally docile creatures, although the male can become aggressive when its young are threatened.Diet:
Comb Ducks will wade in shallow waters and graze on grass or aquatic vegetation. They will also eat seeds, invertebrates and small fish. They can also be pests to rice farmers. Reproduction and growth:
Old World Comb Ducks will only breed in the southern Africa during and after the rainy summer season between December and March. During years of little rain the ducks will not breed at all. The Old World Comb Duck roosts in hollow trees or stumps or on the ground in long grass. Their nests are lined with reeds or grass, with feathers or other fine material; however they do not use down to line their nest.
The female will lay four to eight eggs that are shiny yellow-white and are about 60 to 44mm in diameter. Females can work in-groups to create a "dump-nest", which can have up to 50 eggs. The hens will incubate their eggs for about 30 days and . After the eggs hatch the family is usually found in small flocks.
All info taken from the Honolulu Zoo website