Bio Facts: Duck, Yellow-billed
South African Yellow-billed Duck
Anas undulata undulata
Eastern half of Africa from S. Kenya west to Angola and south to South Africa
Always associated with water – exploit temporarily flooded plains as well as brackish coastal lagoons and estuaries.
More slender than mallards with shorter, rounder, higher-crowned heads. Named for their bright yellow bill.
In the wild, they eat plants and invertebrates. In the Zoo, they are fed a waterfowl pelleted diet, chopped greens, and dust greens with vionate and osteoform four times per week.
Yellow-billed ducks are relatively shy. They congregate in flocks of many hundreds. They are semi-nomadic and disperse at the onset of the rainy season. They quickly exploit temporarily flooded areas in large numbers.
Breeding can occur anytime of year, but reaches its peak at the onset of local rains. This is the time of year when invertebrate foods are readily available for the young.
Males outnumber females 3:1. Pairs nest in dense vegetation near water. Floating structures are occasionally constructed. The males desert females shortly after the eggs are laid. Broods may actually merge. Following fledging at several months of age, juveniles commonly remain with their mothers for an additional 6 weeks.
There are an estimated 52,000-65,000 Yellow-billed ducks in southwestern South Africa where they are the most numerous waterfowl. An additional 50,000-100,000 ducks reside in East Africa.
This is the only African duck with a bright yellow bill.
The name “duck” comes from the Latin word urino, meaning, “to dive.”
This duck is considered widespread to abundant although no total population counts have been conducted in South Africa.
Jacksonville Zoo History:
The first record of this species in our collection is November 1997. It has successfully bred here.