African Black Ducks

African Black Duck, Anas sparsa, photographed at San Francisco Zoo

African Black Duck, Anas sparsa The African Black Duck (Anas sparsa) is also known as the African black duck, black duck, black river duck, West African black duck, South African black duck, or the Ethiopian black duck.


Distribution / Range

They are found in central and southern Africa, where they are usually seen in pairs or small flocks.



The plumage of this shy, yet territorial duck is mostly black duck with white marks on its back. They have yellow-orange feet.

This is a medium-sized duck - with the male being a little larger than the female.


Breeding / Range:

This duck breeds throughout the year in different areas.

During the daytime, it usually stays in rivers and streams. At night, it favors large open waters. It also likes to hide its nests near running water - but always above flood level and on the ground.

Its cup-shaped nest is made of driftwood and matted grass.

The average nest consists of 4 to 8 eggs, which are incubated by the hen for about 30 days. The young leave the nest when they are about 86 days only. The father does not participate in raising the chicks.

Relevant Resources

Duck Information ... Index of Duck Species ... Photos of the Different Duck Species for Identification


Diet / Feeding:

This duck typically feeds off of larvae and pupae usually found under rocks, aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails and crabs.

Feeding Ducks ...

We all enjoy these beautiful birds and many of us offer them food to encourage them to come over and stay around - and it works! Who doesn't like an easy meal!

However, the foods that we traditionally feed them at local ponds are utterly unsuitable for them and are likely to cause health problems down the road. Also, there may be local laws against feeding this species of bird - so it's best to check on that rather than facing consequences at a later stage.

Please note that feeding ducks and geese makes them dependent on humans for food, which can result in starvation and possibly death when those feedings stop. If you decide to feed them, please limit the quantity to make sure that they maintain their natural ability to forage for food themselves - providing, of course, that natural food sources are available.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

Please Note: The articles or images on this page are the sole property of the authors or photographers. Please contact them directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.