Torrent Duck


Torrent Duck (Merganetta armata)

The Torrent Duck (Merganetta armata) is a small duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
English name:
Torrent Duck
German name:
French name:
Merganette des torrents
Scientific name:
Merganetta armata

Scientific classification




The White heads and necks of the slightly larger and heavier drakes are boldly patterned in contrasting black stripes. Male breasts and flanks range from uniform brownish black to grayish-brown, pronounced streaking. And a vibrant cherry bill and a gorgeous white bordered metallic bronze-green Speculam makes this one of the most Stunning Ducks in South America. Drakes are divided into six sup-species or races due to Drake polymorphism.

Females of all subspecies are somewhat smaller than the drakes; they have orange under-parts and throat, with the head and upperparts grey with a And a yellower cherry bill and a white bordered metallic bronze-green Speculam as well.

Are pale grey above and whitish below, Unlike any other waterfowl in appearance and their slender, streamlined, torpedo-shaped body is clearly designed for swimming against the swiftest of currents. Excluding their long necks and tails they are only slightly larger than a blue winged teal, and appear especially small and fragile for ducks that thrive in raging, inhospitable rivers. Despite their minuscule size, they can be surprisingly conspicuous in the turmoil of the rapids because their bright red bills are quite visible from a great distance.


Almost completely sedentary, the Torrent Duck remains close to its mate throughout its reproductive life, but young birds will range widely before establishing a territory.

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Torrent Duck measures approximately 43 - 46 centimeters. The female measures approximately 43-46 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 440 gram. The female will weight about 330-355 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

The subspecies taxonomy is quite confusing:

  • Chilean Torrent Duck - Merganetta armata armata (Nominaatvorm)
  • Colombian Torrent Duck - Merganetta a. colombiana
  • Peruvian Torrent Duck - Merganetta a. leucogenis
  • Argentine’s Torrent Duck - Merganetta a. berlepschi
  • Bolivian Torrent Duck - Merganetta a. garleppi
  • Turners Torrent Duck - Merganetta a. turneri

Torrent ducks may be maintained full-winged in an aviary with clear running water and rock formations and fed on Lundi floating pellets, which may be supplemented with mealworms. They will use boxes for roosting in cold weather and also while moulting.

These ducks do not appear to be aggressive to other species, but can be very aggressive to one another. It is suggested that intended pairs should be kept together from the time the young birds are developing their first feathers. Even birds maintained together in this way may become aggressive at a later stage: either male or female may become aggressive to their mate and birds may be lost due to this aggression. Forming pairs between adult birds is very difficult and great caution is required. A new bird introduced to replace a mate is likely to be attacked. If new pair formation is necessary the birds should be introduced in a new enclosure (not home territory to either bird), and kept separated by wire initially, only being put together when their behaviour indicates good pair formation. However, aggression may occur even in apparently compatible pairs.

Nest boxes must be equipped with internal heating with a constant temperature of at least 24 degrees

Artificial rearing of ducklings is not difficult. Ducklings have very advanced development when hatched. They are very active and good jumpers and may jump vertically perhaps 18 inches (45cm): an extra deep rearing box is required and a wire cover should be used. The ambient temperature should be 24 degrees or higher. Ducklings may be reared on Lundi Micro pellets. Bacterial enteritis has been reported in juveniles when bad weather forced a delay in getting the ducklings outside.

The female Torrent Duck usually lays from 3-4 creamy white eggs and incubates them for 43-44 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 43-44 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 Torrent Duck is 12 mm.
The leg band ring can only be applied on a young small duck at around 11-12 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 35
Lundi Micro 35
Lundi Micro 35
Lundi Micro 35
Lundi Micro 35
Lundi Micro 35
Lundi Micro 35
Floatable special rearing feed for all ornamental waterfowl species, even for problematic eaters. This ideally balanced complete feed with 35% protein content forms the basis for healthy growth and lifelong vitality. Made exclusively from wholesome and selected raw materials, Lundi Micro is also ideally suited for the year-round feeding of waterfowl.
Maintenance 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.

Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit

Floatable special complete food for sea birds with the highest nutritional requirements. Each chunk contains the complete nutrient spectrum. The high protein content of 35% ensures a healthy and species-appropriate diet. Spiral algae give a more magnificent coloration of plumage and sea salt promotes the salt gland.

Photos of the Torrent Duck

Videos of the Torrent Duck