Maccoa duck

Maccoa eend

Maccoa duck (Oxyura maccoa)

The Maccoa duck (Oxyura maccoa) is a small stiff-tailed duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
Maccoa eend
English name:
Maccoa duck
German name:
Afrikanische Ruderente
French name:
Érismature maccoa
Scientific name:
Oxyura maccoa

Scientific classification




Black head and upper neck. Lower neck and most underparts chestnut, becoming paler chestnut on flanks and silvery grey brown on centre of belly, vent and under tail converts. Mantle chestnut; lower back and rump brown with grey mottling; upper tail  converts chestnut. Tail narrow and pointed, blackish. Upperwings grey-brown with slight lighter brown freckling; under wings grey white. Bill bright blue, with whitish nail, Legs and feet are grey.

Dark brown crown and nape down to eye. With dark brown stripe from base of bill across cheeks separated from a crown and by whitish stripe. Lower cheeks throat and neck buffish. Underparts grey-brown with darker mottling and faint paler barring, especially on flanks; centre of belly whitish through to undertail converts. Upperparts dark grey-brown with whitish-bluff vermiculation and speckling. Pointed tail blackish. Upperwings grey-brown with slight lighter brown freckling; under wings grey white. Bill Dark grey, with whitish nail and tip. Legs and feet are grey 

More uniform on body, lacking markings above, and more grey then brown below.

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Maccoa duck measures approximately 46-51 centimeters. The female measures approximately 46-51 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 725-950 gram. The female will weight about 455-680 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

Maccoa ducks are very rare and difficult to breed in captivity.

The male is promiscuous and can have up to eight females nesting simultaneously in his territory, which he guards against intrusion by other males. Males with inferior territories are ignored by females. Fights between males can occur both above and below water, and include under water chases and physical attacks where birds hold each other with their bills and beat each other with their wings. A male can be territorial and sexually active for at least four months.

Maccoa ducks are shy and retiring; they are best maintained in a pair or trio in a separate pen, or may be kept with other larger duck species. They should have deep water (1m or more) provided for diving.

The nest is built by the female in emergent vegetation such as reeds (Phragmites), bulrushes (Typha) or sedges (Cyperaceae) growing in fairly deep water. It consists of leaves and stems from the surrounding vegetation pulled down and bent into bulky bowl, with eggs lying from 8-23 cm above water level.

Ducklings leave the nest soon after hatching and start diving and feeding for themselves immediately. Only the female stays with her brood and she does so for anything ranging from 2-5 weeks. Initially she keeps them in the vicinity of the nest and broods them on the nest at night. 

The female Maccoa duck usually lays from 4-8 bluish-green white eggs and incubates them for 25-27 days.

Artificial incubating:

The ideal relative humidity for incubating most waterfowl eggs is 55% (ground nesters) and 40% (cavity nesters). The temperature is usually 37.4°C. Set ventilation as recommended by the incubator manufacturer. Eggs must be turned, either automatically or by hand, a minimum of 4 times a day. As the duckling develops there is a loss of water from the egg and the air sac gets bigger. In normal development of an egg with a 25-27 days incubation, the air sac occupies about a third of it three days earlier. Cleanliness is vital and ideally eggs should be moved to a separate hatcher at this point, where the humidity should be increased to 65% and even higher once they have pipped internally.

Bird banding:
Recommended closed leg band ring size for the Maccoa duck is 9 mm.
The leg band ring can only be applied on a young small stiff-tailed duck at around 12 days old.

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

Floatable special rearing feed for all types of aquatic ornamental fowl - especially for the cultivation of trees as well as greening ducks.

This well-balanced complete feed with 20% protein content convinces above all by its good compatibility and forms the basis for visibly healthy growth from day one.

Made exclusively from wholesome and selected raw materials, Lundi Micro Regular is also ideally suited for the year-round feeding of waterfowl.

Maintenance food:
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular

Lundi Regular with a protein content of 20%, valuable Spirulina and high-quality by-products is optimally balanced in its composition maintenance food for water ornamental fowl of all kinds. Especially green teal and Whistling ducks that are not dependent on a very high protein content, are well supplied.

Lundi Regular contains all the minerals and vitamins in full form that are important for the animals. Therefore also suitable as breeding food.

Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium

Floating full food for all sea ducks, green ducks, eider ducks and geese, especially in the moulting and breeding phase ideally suited. Packed with wholesome raw materials, natural vitamins and trace elements, this performance food with a protein content of 30% forms the basis for lifelong vitality.

IUCN Red list criteria

The species is currently listed as Near Threatened due to its moderately small population size and ongoing declines resulting from a variety of threats. Information is sought regarding population size estimates and population trends for this species to help decide whether this species warrants uplisting.

Uplisting to Vulnerable
This species has been uplisted to Vulnerable as recent estimates suggest it may have undergone a very rapid recent population decline. The population in east Africa has undergone a severe long-term decline, but until recently this was thought to have been balanced by increases in southern Africa. The recent trend in South Africa suggests that this population is also now declining rapidly and the global status has been revised accordingly. It remains unclear whether this recent trend represents a sustained decline or part of a longer-term fluctuation, but it is precautionarily assessed as a decline until further data become available. Precise drivers of the recent decline are uncertain but likely include pollution and the drainage and conversion of wetlands.

Photos of the Maccoa duck