Pacific Black Duck


Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa)

The Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) is a dabbling duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
English name:
Pacific Black Duck
German name:
French name:
Canard à sourcils
Scientific name:
Anas superciliosa

Scientific classification




New Zealand black or grey duck (Anas superciliosa superciliosa)

Head with five strongly contrasting stripes: three blackish–brown stripes, one over crown and nape, one through eye, and one from base of bill to below eye; and two pale buff to whitish, one forming supercilium and the other across cheeks. Chin and throat brighter buff, rest of neck pale brown, paler in the front then behind. Breast and underparts mottled dark brown among paler feather fringes, these broadest on flanks. Upperparts dark brown with buff to grayish feather fringes; rump, tail converts and tail blackish-brown, the tail with fairly obvious buff edges. Speculum glossy green and black, bordered front and back with black, with narrow buff bar at front and white at rear, while rest of upperwing dark brown; underwing-converts conspicuously whitish, contrasting with dark brown flight feathers. Bill dark grey, to slight yellowish sometimes a little paler towards tip. Legs and feet yellowish, with pale brown webs.

Identical to male but, smaller and duller in color appearing brown on the crown instead of black, also on back, and rump and less contrasting mottling on underparts. Speculum more black then glossy green. 

Identical to adults but, slightly paler and more spotted on the belly and with less green in speculum .


Readily mix with other species of waterfowl. Monogamous and probably permanent: pair remains together all year.

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Pacific Black Duck measures approximately 54-61 centimeters. The female measures approximately 47-61 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 700-1340 gram. The female will weight about 700-1340 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

There are 3 subspecies:

  • Australian black duck - Anas superciliosa rogersi
  • New Zealand black or grey duck - Anas superciliosa superciliosa
  • Pelew Island Black or Grey duck or Lesser Grey Duck - Anas superciliosa pelewensis

The New Zealand subspecies has declined sharply in numbers, at least in its pure form, due to competition from and hybridisation with the introduced mallard. Rhymer say their data "points to the eventual loss of identity of the grey duck as a separate species in New Zealand, and the subsequent dominance of a hybrid swarm akin to the Mariana Mallard." Studies of their three species of parasitic feather lice support this prediction.


Dabbling Ducks are generally hardy, easy to maintain and easy to breed. Shelter may be required by some of the smaller species in winter. They should be provided with cover (including marginal pond cover) and loafing areas as well as water. A pen which is 50% water is suggested. The water may be shallow (i.e. no more than two feet deep is required), and muddy areas for dabbling in are also appreciated. These ducks are generally good in mixed collections, although the smaller and quieter species may be bullied. Territorial disputes between ducks of the same species may be avoided by keeping only one pair of each species in an enclosure, unless the area is very large. For a single pair of ducks a pen are of 50 to 100 square metres, depending on the size of duck, should be provided.

A diet based on wheat and pellets is suggested, with maintenance pellets changed to breeders pellets for the breeding season. Bread and greenfood are also appreciated. Grit should always be available, with soluble grit (e.g. oystershell grit) as a calcium source when breeding.

Most species are ground nesters and both close ground cover and ground level nest boxes should be provided. Hand-rearing is generally preferred, as these ducks are generally poor parents in captive conditions, particularly in enclosures shared with other waterfowl. These ducks are prone to hybridization, particularly with closely related species, which should be kept apart from one another.

Pacific black ducks are hardy, peaceable and suitable for mixed collections. Ground cover and loafing areas should be provided as well as a water area. May be fed grain, pellets and green food.

These ducks are easily bred. Close ground cover, ground-level and raised nest boxes and baskets should be provided for breeding, with eggs laid from the beginning of March, usually April to June. May be parent reared; artificial incubation and rearing or use of broodies is not difficult. Excess feeding and lack of exercise risks the ducklings developing Angel Wing and Perosis.

Hybridisation with other Anas species in the mallard group is common - frequent hybridisation in wild with introduced Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos); maintenance in enclosures away from other similar species suggested.

Albino, pied and silver (leucistic) forms are known in captivity.


The female Pacific Black Duck usually lays from 7-12 cream to greenish-white or greenish-cream eggs and incubates them for 26-29 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 26-29 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 Pacific Black Duck is 11 mm.
The leg band ring can only be applied on a young dabbling duck at around 12-14 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
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.

Photos of the Pacific Black Duck