|Conservation status||Despite wide range in American tropics, seems not to be very common anywhere. Secretive behavior and nomadic movements make it difficult to estimate total population or to provide protection for species.|
|Family||Ducks and Geese|
|Habitat||Marshes, ponds. In United States mainly found on ponds and impoundments with extensive marsh growth and some open water. In tropics also found on mangrove lagoons, swamps, rice plantations.|
Forages mostly by diving and swimming underwater, propelled by feet.
4-10. Smaller and smoother than those of Ruddy Duck, whitish to pale buff. Females sometimes lay eggs in each others' nests. Incubation is by female, about 4 weeks. Young: Not well known. Probably leave nest shortly after hatching, are tended by female but feed themselves, as in other stifftails. Age at first flight not known.
Not well known. Probably leave nest shortly after hatching, are tended by female but feed themselves, as in other stifftails. Age at first flight not known.
Probably mostly plant material. Diet not well known. Apparently eats mostly plant material, including seeds and roots of smartweeds, sedges, grasses, and various other aquatic and waterside plants. Also eats some aquatic insects and crustaceans.
Breeding behavior not well known. The few known Texas nestings have been in fall. Displays of male apparently include raising tail and lowering bill onto chest while making soft calls, also making short rushes across surface of water. Nest site is among marsh vegetation in shallow water. Nest (built by female) is a woven bowl of reeds and grasses, perhaps with sparse lining of down.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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May travel mostly at night. Apparently not truly migratory, but wanders unpredictably. Seems to invade Texas from eastern Mexico after a series of unusually wet years has created much appropriate habitat. Strays have wandered far outside normal range, reaching Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania.
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Songs and CallsUsually silent; low grunts and whistling calls.
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