White-backed Duck

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White-backed Duck
Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Anseriformes
Family:Anatidae
Subfamily:Thalassorninae
Genus:Thalassornis
Species:T. leuconotus
Binomial name
Thalassornis leuconotus
Eyton, 1838

The White-backed Duck (Thalassornis leuconotus) is a waterbird of the family Anatidae. It is distinct from all other ducks, but most closely related to the whistling ducks in the subfamily Dendrocygninae, though also showing some similarities to the stiff-tailed ducks in the subfamily Oxyurinae (family Anatidae). It is the only member of the genus Thalassornis, (Eyton, 1838).

These birds are well adapted for diving. On occasions they have been observed to stay under water for up to half a minute. They search especially for the bulbs of waterlilies.

White-backed Ducks live in southern Africa, especially between Senegal and Chad in the west and Ethiopia and South Africa in the east. Their habitat consists of lakes, ponds, swamps and marshes where they are well camouflaged against predators.

There are two subspecies, Thalassornis leuconotus leuconotus and Thalassornis leuconotus insularis. The latter lives entirely on Madagascar and is considered to be endangered by hunting, habitat loss and the introduction of competing exotic species.

de:Weißrücken-Pfeifgans

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