Monday, 15 June 2015

Day 224 - Wonderfully Handsome Darlings - White-Headed Ducks

Male White Headed Duck ( Oxyura leucocephala )
Hi all today's Day 224 and as you know I go to Washington Wetlands Centre and I do a post now and again on one of the birds that I see there. This duck is one that I really liked the first, and all the other, time I saw it. Mostly because of its almost Ultra-Violet head and beak. Another reason is that blue isn't the most common colour for a beak of a bird so it makes it almost unique and extra special. I am of course talking about the White-Headed Duck.

So, here are the facts:
  • Most of its body is a chestnut brown colour but, as I mentioned above, it also has a blue beak and, as the name suggests, it has a white head, it does have a black stripe over its head, though.
And a female.
  • This is the Male though, the Female is also Chestnut brown and it has a paler face than the Male and has a dark cap and cheek stripe. They have a darker beak as well.
  • They are 43-48cm long and they have a rather long tail. They weigh from 580g to 750g and I'm guessing they are Sexually Dimorphic meaning either the Male or Female is bigger than the other but I'm not 100% sure as there is not a BTO Birdfacts page on them.
  • Its Latin name (Oxyura leucocephala) is literally translated to Pointed Tail and White Headed. Pretty apt huh? They are members of the stiff-tailed duck family.
  • This is one of the rarest bird species in the world with a world population of no more than 15,000 birds. These are mostly seen and breed in Spain and Northern Africa.
You can see how far back their legs are here.
  • These birds dive and swim underwater and if they feel threatened are more likely to swim underwater to reach cover rather than fly.
  • Their legs are set quite far back on their bodies making it harder to walk which is why they prefer to swim.
  • Another reason for their underwater swimming skills is to reach food which is larvae, pupae, aquatic animals, small fish, snails, crabs and plant material, they mostly eat at night.
  • A fossil species from the late pliocene or early pleistocene resembled a small Ruddy Duck or possibly blue bill, Ruddy Ducks and White-Headed Ducks are part of the same family.
  • They are generally silent thought they might make a low, rattling or drumming noise when displaying.
  • They are monogamous meaning they will mate for life. Females lay between 4 and 9 eggs at 1.5 day intervals because at total clutch weight is around 100% of her body mass.
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. Lovely duck and lovely photos as always! - Tasha