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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 09, 2021

15 Amaze-wing Facts About The Marbled Duck For Kids

According to the marbled duck facts, this species is well-known for its white patches of color.

The marbled duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris), or marbled teal, is an elegantly colored medium-sized waterfowl with a gray-white texture and a sandy-brown body. These ducks have large heads and a light eye patch that sets them apart from other species of ducks. They are a unique species from southern Spain, Turkey, Armenia, Northwest Africa, Greece, India, Western China, and they are even found in Britain. 

Marbled teals (Marmaronetta angustirostris) have been termed as escaped captive birds from sites in southern Spain that were formerly bred in large numbers in the Mediterranean region basin. They love marshlands, shallow freshwaters, and brackish waters which is why they are found in abundance in these areas. Their choice of breeding ground is usually lowlands where they lay their eggs in long grasses or high trees. They are nervous and flighty birds that are gregarious in nature and quite loud during the mating season. They feed in shallow water by dabbling their head for food. Their diet includes aquatic crustaceans as well as plants. Their scientific name is derived from the Greek word 'marmaros', meaning marbled, and 'netta', for a duck. The Latin word 'augustus', means narrow and small whereas 'rostris', means billed. The ducks are vulnerable due to habitat loss.

If you love learning about new species then we suggest you go check out our harlequin duck facts and Muscovy duck facts pages for more similar content.

Marbled Duck Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a marbled duck?

The marbled duck is a type of duck from the family of Anatidae under the animal kingdom. 

What class of animal does a marbled duck belong to?

The marbled duck belongs to the Aves class of animals from the family of Anatidae under the genus Marmaronetta. 

How many marbled ducks are there in the world?

Being listed as a Vulnerable species by the IUCN Red List, the marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) is one among many other species whose population has been declining at a drastic rate. Presently, there are fewer than 20,000 pairs of marbled teals in the world, which is why several countries have adopted breeding the same for their continued existence under the bird's conservation program. 

Where does a marbled duck live?

Marbled teals (Marmaronetta angustirostris) are originally from southern Spain where they were formerly bred in large numbers in the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East. They are also found in northwest Africa, Israel, as well as in smaller groups reported from Turkey, Armenia, Shadegan marshes in southern Iraq, Azerbaijan, Sahel zone, Pakistan, northwest India, and western China.

What is a marbled duck's habitat?

The marbled teal's (Marmaronetta angustirostris) habitat includes freshwaters, brackish waters, and similar lakes, marshes, wetlands, ponds, rivers, shallow waters, and swamps abundant with dense vegetation. They also visit open calm waters and temporary wet areas during the winter season. 

Who do marbled ducks live with?

Marbled teal ducks are gregarious in nature, usually found together in pairs, large groups, and sometimes, in smaller groups. Their large flocks consist of a few thousand birds who forage and look for food together. 

How long does a marbled duck live?

The average life expectancy of marbled teal ducks is estimated to be about 20-30 years. 

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season begins in May-July where the ducks breed alone or in smaller groups. They produce only one clutch and build their nests in their chosen breeding grounds, usually closer to a water body, concealed with bushes, roots, and other vegetation. They sometimes make a tunnel or an entrance to their nests in the shallow depression and line it with downs and grasses. It resembles a small hut covered in roots. The one who builds these nests is the females while the male protects the nesting site. Females lay 4-12 cream or yellow-colored eggs that can go up to 0.06 lb (30 g) in weight. The incubation period lasts for 25-27 days while the males disperse from the breeding grounds during this period, after which the eggs hatch synchronously and fledge 55-56 days later. The females are the ones who tend to their young but more often than not, the male would come back and take part in the nesting duties. The young ducklings will reach their sexual maturity at one year while the females may lay their eggs in the same nest for the new breeding season. 

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the marbled teal falls under the Vulnerable category due to the constant decline in their population as a result of habitat loss and hunting. 

Marbled Duck Fun Facts

What do the marbled ducks look like?

The marbled teal looks very adorable with its fluffy plumage and shaggy head.

The marbled teal is a medium-sized bird. The adults have a pale sandy brown plumage that includes a few white glosses. They have dark eye patches and their head is shaggy. The juvenile has off-white blotches in flight rather than pure white blotches in flight with long necks and wings that are easily identifiable when in flight. They have creamy white and gray fawn-colored feathers with a flat top and a strip of white lines running along with their eyes which is attractively placed with their dark black bill. Their feet and legs are gray while the coating over their shoulders and back are marble-like. Females are similar in appearance with a darker brown coloring over their eyes and a more dramatic crest on their heads. They do not have a colored wing speculum. 

How cute are they?

These ducks are very adorable with their shaggy heads, creamy-white feathered texture, and fluffy tails. 

How do they communicate?

These dabbling ducks (Marmaronetta angustirostris) are typically silent except during the breeding season where they try to attract their mates. The male ducks produce a nasal 'jeep' while a female duck may produce a similar 'pleep pleep' noise. 

How big is a marbled duck?

A marbled duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris) can grow up to a length of 15-19 in (38-48 cm).

How fast can a marbled duck fly?

With a wingspan of 22-24 in (55.88-53.34 cm), the marbled ducks are rather low flyers along with being slow. They do not show much agility with their small webbed feet and usually take fewer flights from the water surface, as a result of which, their speed of flight still remains unknown. 

How much does a marbled duck weigh?

The average weight of a marbled duck is estimated to be about 8.5-21.5 oz (240-600 g). 

What are the male and female names of the species?

A female duck is called a hen while a male duck is called a drake. 

What would you call a baby marbled duck?

A baby marbled duck is called a duckling. 

What do they eat?

Their diet consists of insects, seeds, grasses, worms, larvae, pupae, apple snails, crabs, crustaceans, and other aquatic plants. They usually feed in shallow water by dabbling their heads over the land.

Are they dangerous?

These dabbling ducks are territorial and quite gregarious in nature which makes them dangerous to intruders during the mating season. Other than that, they are not dangerous to human beings. 

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, with their sociable nature to adapt to other breeds easily and their ability to eat almost everything, they are very easy to care for and are quite rewarding in return. However, looking at the fact that they are an endangered species and are under conservation, getting one would not be a good idea. 

Did you know...

These birds are not endemic in nature and are found in many scattered parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Great Britain. If you wish to spot these ducks then the best way to do so is to hide around their natural habitats where they are quite distinct in appearance and may easily be spotted by their prominent shaggy crest, pale sandy brown underwings, and plumage with white blotches. They mostly spend their time swimming around lakes, foraging for food. 

How many eggs do marbled duck lay?

The average number of eggs laid by a marbled duck is estimated to be about 4-12 per clutch but it may differ. They usually pair up during winters and travel north together, after which they choose a nesting site in the ground near the water surface, covered with vegetation. The male and female stay together until the eggs are hatched at which time the males disperse from the breeding grounds. She then stays in the nest for 27 days and then looks after the young for another few months until they are finally independent. 

Do marbled ducks migrate?

Yes, marbled ducks are migratory in nature. They usually travel across to Africa during the winter season to escape the cold in their natural habitats.  

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including Australian magpie facts and great black hawk facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable marbled duck coloring pages.

Main image by Mehmet Karatay.

Second image by Francis C. Franklin.

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