Maccoa Ducks

Maccoa Duck (Oxyura maccoa)

The Maccoa Ducks (Oxyura maccoa) are small African stiff-tailed ducks named for their long stiff tail feathers, which are erected when these ducks are at rest.

Distribution / Range

Maccoa Ducks occur in two main areas:

  • Eastern Africa from Sudan and Ethiopia to Tanzania and west to eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire); and
  • Southern Africa from Zimbabwe to Cape Province, South Africa.

When breeding, they are found in shallow fresh waters. After the breeding season, they may also inhabit brackish and saline lakes.


The Maccoa Ducks measure between 48 - 51 cm in length, including tail.

Adult males have a mostly chestnut plumage, except for a black head. They have blue bills.

Adult females are mostly grey-brown with a dark brown crown, nape and cheek stripe. They have dark grey bills.

Relevant Resources

Diet / Feeding:

Ducks generally feed on larvae and pupae usually found under rocks, aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails and crabs.

Feeding Ducks ...

We all enjoy ducks 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.