African Black Duck

Afrikaanse zwarte eend

African Black Duck (Anas sparsa)

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

Species name

Dutch name:
Afrikaanse zwarte eend
English name:
African Black Duck
German name:
French name:
Canard noir
Scientific name:
Anas sparsa

Scientific classification




Overall body plumage dark brownish black. Head greyer-brown, with very slightly darker crown and lighter cheeks and throat (produced by very narrow buff edgings to feathers) really apparent only in fresh plumage. Sometimes has a whitish neck patch, which may meet to forum smudgy collar. Underparts slightly more olive–brown then upperparts; a few rear flank feathers barred buff(variable, and may extend to feathers on vent). Scapulars and tertails have broad buff bars, while uppertail-coverts and tail have narrower buff barring. In flight, upperwing dark brown on primaries, while secondaries   form bluish iridescent speculum, boarded behind and in front by black and white bars; underwing converts much paler brown with white tips, contrasting with darker flight feathers; white tips to secondaries from whitish trailing edge. Bill pinkish-grey with black nail and black patch on upper mandible, sometimes extending over most the bill, though pinkish at base. Legs and feet yellow-orange with blackish blotching.

looks Identical to male but smaller size apparent when in a pair. In some individuals female can appear darker black.

Not so dark brown as adults, with whitish belly with diffuse brown barring. Barring on underparts reduced or even absent at first. Speculum lacking iridescent. Bill grey Becomes as adult by the end of first year.

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the African Black Duck measures approximately 50-55 centimeters. The female measures approximately 50-55 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 1080 gram. The female will weight about 910 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!
  • Anas sparsa leucostigma: Abyssinian Black duck - Namibië and southern Zimbabwe to South-Africa.
  • Anas sparsa sparsa: African Black Duck - Nigeria to Congo-Kinshasa, Soedan, Ethiopië, Zimbabwe and Angola.

This species prefers fast-flowing shallow rivers and streams with rocky substrates, especially in wooded and mountainous environments. It can also be found in open, dry habitats and on lakes, reservoirs, lagoons, estuaries with sandy soils, stagnant or slow-running water and ponds.


Important criteria for suitable nest sites are close proximity to water and near invisibility from above. Duck makes its cup shaped nest of driftwood and matted grass. Though it builds its nest near running water it is always above flood level and on the ground.

The female African Black Duck usually lays from 4-8 brownish eggs and incubates them for 30 days.

Bird banding:
Recommended leg band size for the African Black Duck is 11 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
Preferred 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 African Black Duck

Videos of the African Black Duck

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