Fun Hawaiian Duck Facts For Kids

Georgia Stone
Aug 30, 2023 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Oct 28, 2021
Hawaiian duck facts are all about the native duck of the main Hawaiian Islands.

The Hawaiian duck (Anas wyvilliana) is a secretive and timid bird of the Anatidae family. Their native Hawaiian name is Koloa maoli. They are endemic to the main Hawaiian Islands except for the Lanai and Kahoolawe Islands.

Nowadays, they inhabit the islands of Kauai and Niihau. These ducks are closely related to mallards and their hybridization produced offspring possessing the best traits of the two species. Often these ducks are considered to be the Hawaiian Island mallard subspecies.

Their diet includes seeds, fruits, small invertebrates, and also occasionally tadpoles. They are spotted on the Kauai Island in pairs or in groups. Hawaiian ducks are not very vocal and unlike feral mallards, the Koloa maoli has a softer tone.

These shy birds are agile flyers and are seen locomoting in between the islands. The Koloa maoli is an endangered species and its population is rapidly decreasing mainly due to habitat loss. Read on to learn more about this captivating Hawaiian duck (Koloa maoli).

If you liked reading this article, then do check out the ring-necked duck and the grebehere on Kidadl.

Hawaiian Duck Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Hawaiian duck?

Hawaiian ducks are birds that belong to the Anatidae family.

What class of animal does a Hawaiian duck belong to?

These ducks belong to the class Aves, just like the pigeonand the swan.

How many Hawaiian ducks are there in the world?

There are currently about 2,200 Hawaiian ducks present in the world. These ducks are monotypic and their population is decreasing day by day.

Where does a Hawaiian duck live?

The Hawaiian Koloa maoli is a pure Hawaiian duck and their population ranges in the different Hawaiian Islands except for Lanai and Kahoolawe Islands. At present, these ducks reside on the islands of Kauai and Niihau.

These appealing duck species were reintroduced on the Big Island (Hawaii) and also on Oahu and Maui Islands. They are also kept in captivity in the artificial wetlands in North America.

What is a Hawaiian duck's habitat?

Hawaiian ducks inhabit mountain streams, lowland wetlands, river valleys, flooded grasslands, and savannas. They prefer tropical climates and are spotted in between islands. The Koloa maoli also thrives well in artificial wetlands that are mainly in North America. They are shorebirds and are not migratory in nature.

Who does the Hawaiian duck live with?

Hawaiian ducks are social birds and are seen in pairs or in large groups. However, these ducks are secretive and do not associate with other species of birds and animals.

How long does a Hawaiian duck live?

The Hawaiian duck life span is about four years in the wild, and this can be more in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

The Hawaiian duck reproduces by laying about 2-10 eggs. They are serially monogamous birds, which means that they stick to one partner during a single breeding season and then move on to a different partner in the next season.

However, some of these duck species undergo breeding throughout the year. Their breeding season continues from December to May and during this time, these birds display spectacular conjugal flights.

The female builds its well-concealed nest lined with breast feathers. The females incubate their eggs for about four weeks.

The ducklings are born in an advanced state with light brown coloration and their body is bordered on both sides by white. Soon after hatching, the ducklings are able to swim in the water but are unable to fly until they are nine weeks of age.

What is their conservation status?

The Hawaiian duck (Anas wyvillian) is an Endangered species and its population is rapidly declining. Their main threat is loss of habitat and illegal poaching.

Certain predatory animals and birds of prey also impose a major threat to these charismatic duck species of Hawaii. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is involved in a recovery plan for their population and also introduced these ducks to the Kauai and Niihau Islands.

They are also trying to separate feral mallards from the Koloa maoli species so that they can flourish better and adapt themselves. These bird species interbred with mallards that eventually contributed to the Hawaiian duck evolution.

Hawaiian Duck Fun Facts

What does a Hawaiian duck look like?

The Hawaiian Koloa maoli has a mottled brown body with a darker head and neck. They bear dark breast feathers that are lined with black striations all over.

Both the male and female exhibit immense similarity with the female mallards of Kauai. Sexual dimorphism is seen where the male Koloa is bigger than the female. The bill is olive green in the male Koloa, while the female has a light orange bill.

The male and female Koloas possess beautiful plumage that consists of green and blue feathers. Their look is further accentuated with orange hues on their underparts. The Koloa has dull orange feet and legs.

These charming ducks of Hawaii have undergone hybridization with the feral mallards of Kauai, and therefore, exhibit huge resemblance with each other. During their breeding season from December to May, they build well-concealed nest lined with dark feathers.

How cute are they?

The Koloa of Hawaii is extremely cute because of their dark striated plumage and orange feet and legs. Their bill is olive green that further adds to their beauty.

How do they communicate?

The Endangered duck of Hawaii communicates by vocal calls, that are soft and low pitched. Further, their quacks are softer than mallards.

How big is a Hawaiian duck?

The Hawaiian duck (Anas wyvilliana) is about 16-20 in (40.64-50.8 cm) in length and is comparable in size to Mandarin ducks.

How fast can a Hawaiian duck move?

These ducks are agile flyers and can fly with an average speed of 50 mph (80 kph). Their habitat includes a great range and they can travel for about 800 mi (1287 km) in a flight of eight hours.

How much does a Hawaiian duck weigh?

The dark Koloa weighs about 1-1.3 lb (0.5-0.6 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male Koloa is called a drake and the female Koloa is called a duck.

What would you call a baby Hawaiian duck?

The baby Koloa, soon after hatching, is called a duckling.

What do they eat?

The diet of this Hawaiian bird includes a variety of seeds and fruits. Their diet also consists of small invertebrates and sometimes, tadpoles.

Are they poisonous?

The Koloa is not poisonous and does not impose any threat on humans. The males may tend to be a little aggressive if provoked or threatened.

Would they make a good pet?

This bird can make a very good pet if provided suitable conditions. They are introduced in artificial wetland areas. However, these species are Endangered and it would be illegal to keep them as pets.

Did you know...

Several Hawaiian legends are associated with Hawaiian ducks. It is said that the well-known brave Hawaiian king, Imaikalini, was guided by these ducks as he was blind. These ducks used to quack indicating the right direction to the king so that he could ward off his enemies.

Interbreeding of these ducks with the mallard species often leads to genetic problems in the offspring. They fail to adapt themselves in the wild.

Why is the Hawaiian duck Koloa Endangered?

They are Endangered mainly because of loss of habitat and illegal poaching. Other destructive human activities also contribute to their decreasing population.

Furthermore, certain predatory animals and birds of prey like vultures in Hawaii are other factors that have imposed a major threat to these species as has hybridization with feral mallards. The U.S FWS has taken up certain initiatives for their conservation. They have introduced quite a number of these ducks to the islands that are free of predators.

Are they loud?

The dark Koloa is a shy bird and is not loud. Their quacks are soft and less frequent than that of the mallard.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our prairie chicken facts and African black duck facts pages.

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

Main image by Mike's Birds

Second image by DickDaniels

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Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

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Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

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