The marbled duck, or marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) is a threatened, medium-sized species of duck from southern Europe, northern Africa, and western and central Asia. The scientific name, Marmaronetta angustirostris, comes from the Greek marmaros, marbled and netta, a duck, and Latin angustus, narrow or small and -rostris billed.
L. Reichenbach, 1853
Distribution, habitat and breedingEdit
This duck formerly bred in large numbers in the Mediterranean region, but is now restricted to a few sites in southern Spain, southern Italy, northwest Africa and the broader Levant. Further east it survives in the Mesopotamian marshland in southern Iraq and in Iran (Shadegan Marshes - the world's most important site), as well as isolated pockets in Armenia, Azerbaijan, western India and western China. In general the species has nomadic tendencies. In some areas birds disperse from the breeding grounds, and have been encountered in the winter period in the Sahel zone, south of the Sahara.
Its preferred breeding habitat is temporary and shallow fresh, brackish or alkaline waters with densely vegetated shores in regions that otherwise are fairly dry. It may also breed in coastal lagoons, along slow rivers or man-made waters like reservoirs. The on average c. 12 eggs are placed in a nest covered by dense vegetation at the waters edge. It is usually on the ground, but occasionally higher among reeds or on huts made from reeds. They are common in captive collections but are a nervous and flighty bird.
These are gregarious birds, at times even when nesting. Outside the breeding season flocks are often small, although large wintering flocks have been reported in some areas. The largest winter concentration known is in Khuzestan, Iran.
Description and dietEdit
The marbled duck is approximately 39–42 cm (15–17 in) long. Adults are a pale sandy-brown colour, diffusely blotched off-white, with a dark eye-patch and shaggy head. The female averages smaller than the male, but otherwise the sexes are alike. Juveniles are similar but with more off-white blotches. In flight, the wings look pale without a marked pattern, and no speculum on the secondaries.
These birds feed mainly in shallow water by dabbling or up-ending, occasionally diving. Adults feed mostly on seeds (for example, from Scirpus and Ruppia), but also take significant quantities of invertebrates (especially aquatic insect larvae and pupae, tiny crustaceans, and—highly unusual for a duck—ants) and green plants (for example, Potamogeton). Their gizzard allows them to break down seeds and the lamellae in their beak allow them to filter feed on zooplanktonic organisms. Young marbled ducks feed mostly on invertebrates. Although they may take tiny seeds, they lack the large gizzard necessary to break down the larger seeds commonly consumed by adults.
This bird is considered vulnerable by the IUCN due to a reduction in population caused by habitat destruction and hunting. It is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Marmaronetta angustirostris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Jobling, James A. (1991). A Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. OUP. ISBN 0-19-854634-3.
- Snow, David William; Perrins, Christopher, eds. (1997). The Birds of the Western Palearctic [Abridged]. OUP. ISBN 0-19-854099-X.
- Walker, Matt (18 January 2011). "Restoring Iraq's wetland marshes to the original Eden". BBC News.
- Fuentes, C.; M.I. Sánchez; N. Selva; A.J. Green (2004). "The diet of the Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris in southern Alicante, eastern Spain". Revue d'Ecologie (Terre Vie). 59: 475–490.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marmaronetta angustirostris.|
|Wikispecies has information related to Marmaronetta angustirostris|
- Marmaronetta angustirostris in the Flickr: Field Guide Birds of the World
- Marbled duck media from ARKive
- BirdLife species factsheet for Marmaronetta angustirostris
- "Marmaronetta angustirostris". Avibase.
- "Marbled teal media". Internet Bird Collection.
- Marbled teal photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)
- Interactive range map of Marmaronetta angustirostris at IUCN Red List maps
- Audio recordings of Marbled duck on Xeno-canto.