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Duck, White-backed

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Johan van Rensburg
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Duck, White-backed

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:39 am

Unless in flight, the White-backed Duck, Thalassornis leuconotus, does not show the white feathers on its back often like the drake did here, shaking his feathers and vibrating his tail.

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These birds are uncommon nomads, endemic to Africa south of the Sahara. In South Africa they occur mainly in the north eastern quadrant. This duck is the only one in its genus; it is not closely related to any other species of duck. It prefers water bodies with dense emerging or floating vegetation where they are well camouflaged against predators. They forage for roots and tubers, diving mainly for water lily bulbs and other vegetation. This pair stayed closely together, even practicing synchronised swimming! I suspect the larger bird at the back to be the male bird (drake).

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677 Last 5 lifers: Caspian plover, Western marsh harrier, Rüppell's vulture, Spotted crake, Lesser jacana

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wildtuinman
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Unread post by wildtuinman » Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:46 am

Only ever seen them once before. In Harrismith. I overlooked it actually and took it for the more common moorhen which were present by their dozens.

Thanks to my fellow brainy birder I was able to tick it off after getting it pointed out to me. :redface: :redface: :lol:

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Skopsie
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WB Duck

Unread post by Skopsie » Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:21 am

We saw several of them at Nylsvley, where they are quite common.

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wildtuinman
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Unread post by wildtuinman » Mon May 05, 2008 11:19 am

Indeed, Nylsvlei is a mecca for these ducks at the moment.


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