The Marbled Ducks (Marmaronetta angustirostris) - also known as Marbled Teals - are medium-sized diving ducks.
Outside the breeding season flocks are often small, although in some areas large wintering flocks have been reported.
Distribution / Range
They formerly bred in large numbers in the Mediterranean region, but are now restricted to a few sites in southern Spain and northwest Africa.
In the east, they can be found in Iran (specifically, Shadegan Marshes - the world's most important site). Isolated groups can also be found in Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iraq.
In some areas, they disperse from the breeding grounds, and vagrants have been reported to winter in the Sahel zone, south of the Sahara.
They breed in lowland areas with shallow fresh waters.
They are considered vulnerable due to a reduction in population caused by loss. This species is protected under Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA).
The Marbled Ducks measure about 39-42 cm in length (including the tail).
Adults have a pale sandy-brown plumage that is diffusely blotched off-white. They have dark eye-patches. The head is shaggy.
The juveniles has more off-white blotches.
In flight, the wings look pale without a marked pattern, and no speculum (= distinctive wing patch) on the secondaries (shorter, upper "arm" feathers).
Diet / Feeding:
Marbled ducks feed mainly in shallow water by dabbling or up-ending, occasionally diving. Other than that, little is known about their diet.
Ducks generally feed on larvae and pupae often found under rocks, as well as 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.
- Foods that can be fed to Ducks, Geese and Swans to survive cold winters and remain healthy when food is scarce in their environment.
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
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