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Duck: Comb (Knob-billed)

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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francoisd
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Duck: Comb (Knob-billed)

Unread postby francoisd » Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:05 pm

Comb (Knob-billed) Duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos)

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Comb (Knob-billed) Duck Female

Other names:
Afrikaans: Knobbeleend
German: Höckerente
French: Canard à bosse
Portuguese: Pato-de-carúncula
Dutch: Knobbeleend, Pronkeend


Physical 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

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Freda
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Unread postby Freda » Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:51 pm

Kruger Jan 2003:
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and Nov 2004:
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Still had the old Mavica :wink:

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DebM
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Unread postby DebM » Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:10 pm

December 2005
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Unread postby Bosnimf » Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:23 pm

December 2005 at Mazithi Dam

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Jumbo

Unread postby Jumbo » Sun Sep 24, 2006 9:55 am

Seen on the S39 (Timbavati road)

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wildtuinman
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:30 am

Saw some on Mahonie loop around Punda.
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acekam
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Unread postby acekam » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:10 pm

Saw one at Duke waterhole in Feb 2007.

Question : does anyone have any idea what evolutionary purpose the comb serves????

This is not a quiz, I don't the answer!
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Wild@Heart
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Unread postby Wild@Heart » Thu Mar 15, 2007 6:27 am

Wildtuinman wrote:Saw some on Mahonie loop around Punda.


Like this one I saw on Mahonie Loop last year.

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Skopsie
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ID pls

Unread postby Skopsie » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:23 pm

Hi all

A week or two ago, we had a wonderful weekend at Nylsvley. I added 18 lifers to my list, but this one confuses me. The size is almost the same size as an Egyptian Goose. Could it be a Mallard?

ImageImage

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wildtuinman
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:36 am

I would say that it is subadult egyptian geese.

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Re: ID pls

Unread postby deefstes » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:08 am

Nope, it's an immature Comb Duck - often confused for Garganey. There's even been some discussion on it on the SABN recently.
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Unread postby Muhammad » Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:03 pm

Renosterkoppies,Jan 2007.
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alicep
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Re: Duck: Comb (Knob-billed)

Unread postby alicep » Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:10 am

Seen near Punda Maria
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Niall
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Re: Duck: Comb (Knob-billed)

Unread postby Niall » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:29 am

Sometimes the picture is just handed to you on a plate. This male seen in Mkhuze last week:

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At the same waterhole, a pair of Secretarybirds came to drink and bathe, a female Pin tailed Whydah was "anting" in front of the hide, and Impala, Nyala, Giraffe and Rhino came down to drink.

Cheers

Niall.

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Re: Help ID birds on the Webcams

Unread postby Tilandi » Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:55 pm

Don't know if this is the correct thread for this. So Mods please remove or move to correct location.
I've seen the Knobbed-bill duck on the S25, this little dam has been dry for the last 2 years.
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Taken 8 Jan 2009 on the way to Skukuza
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