Blue Duck

Nieuw-zeelandse blauwe eend

Blue Duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos)

The Blue Duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos) is a duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
Nieuw-zeelandse blauwe eend
English name:
Blue Duck
German name:
French name:
Hyménolaime bleu
Scientific name:
Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos

Scientific classification




Virtually whole plumage is slaty grey with bluish sheen. Head a little darker and crown brown grey, though brownish tinge often slight or even absent. Breast paler grey heavily mottled with reddish brown elongated blotches, which often arranged, at least in center of breast, into ill-defined streaks running down onto upper belly, mottling petering out onto anterior flanks; undertail converts dull chestnut. Smudgy black mottling on mantle and scapulars. Upper wings same uniform blue-grey color, but inner secondaries have black edges and outer six secondaries have narrow white tips; under wings uniform paler grey, with white tips to secondaries showing. Bill pale pinkish white with black nail, and black pendent lobes of skin on each sides of tip; nostrils blackish. Legs and feet light brown with darker brown patches. 

Identical to male but, mottling on breast less extensive and rarely reaching flanks or belly. Wings, tail and bare parts as male.

Lacks bluish sheen; mottling on breast absent at first and then brown, lacking reddish color, and more limited in extent then female. Upper wing converts with brownish tinge. Bill very pale flesh grey, with black nail, skin lopes and stripe down center of upper mandible almost to tip.
Adult plumage acquired after first year.


Blue ducks are monogamous and fiercely territorial; the territory and pair bond are maintained throughout the year.

Standard Measurements

Lengte man:
The male (drake) of the Blue Duck measures approximately 53-56 centimeters. The female measures approximately 53-56 centimeters.
Weight male:
The male will weight about 880-920 gram. The female will weight about 750-790 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!
Nest placement and structure:

Nests are generally well hidden from above and sites include riverside caves, holes in river banks, at bases of fern clumps or beneath fallen trees. Nests are generally close to the pond. While the female is incubating, the male waits on the pond side in close proximity to the nest. 

The female Blue Duck usually lays from 5-6 pale white eggs and incubates them for 33-35 days.

Bird banding:
Recommended leg band size for the Blue Duck is 0 mm.
The leg band can only be applied on a young duck at around 0 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it is good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male

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Photos of the Blue Duck

Videos of the Blue Duck

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