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Quick Facts
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Sarkidiornis
Species: melanotos

Length: 22 - 30 inches
Weight: 4 - 5 lbs
Offspring: 6 - 20

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African Comb Duck

Sarkidiornis melanotos

Also Called: Old World Comb Duck or Knob-billed Duck


The African Comb Duck is native to Africa, Asia and South America. Their backs are dark with violet, bronze, purple and green coloring. Their heads, breasts and wings are gray with small black spots over the head and neck and their bills are black. Male African Comb Duck’s have a comb, or fleshy knob, at the base of the bill that increases in size during breeding season. Females do not have a comb and are smaller in size than the males. The African Comb Duck has been honored on at least ten African stamps.


The African Comb Ducks diet consists mainly of grass seed and grain. Other foods include aquatic plants, insects, frogs and fish.


African Comb Duck’s are tropical. They live in the wooded country of the lowlands in East and Central Africa. They prefer fresh water.


The threat to African Comb Duck’s is from hunting, poisoning by insecticides, and deforestation.


African Comb Ducks are considered peaceful ducks. They readily move to different areas to take advantage of better feed sites and have been known to travel up to 2200 miles when migratingWhat does migrating mean?. They graze on land and swim and wade to feed off the surface of the water, usually in the early morning and late evening. These ducks often form same sex groups.


Breeding usually corresponds with the rainy season. African Comb Duck’s are polygamous, having more than one mate. The males can be aggressive during breeding season. The females usually nest in holes in trees but will nest in tall thick vegetation near inland water. The nest is made of twigs and coarse grass with a lining of leaves, grass and feathers. The eggs hatch synchronously, or at the same time, in 28 – 30 days. The female incubates the eggs and tends to the ducklings until they begin to moltWhat does molt mean?.


The African Comb Duck is very sensitive to cold.

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