While the African black duck may remind you of the mallard, they are their own species. Found throughout Africa, these free-range ducks love spending their time on the open water. While they are often hunted for their meat, it is hard to overlook the beauty of this bird when you see it in action. Let’s learn more about them below!


Quick Facts About African Black Ducks

African Black Duck 2
African Black Duck 2 (Image Credit: Jean, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)
Breed Name:African Black Duck
Place of Origin:Africa
Drake Size:19–22 inches
Hen Size:14–19 inches
Color:Black plumage with white markings on the feathers of the face and back, blue wingtips, yellow feet, blue bills, and brown eyes
Lifespan:20 to 30 years
Climate Tolerance:Prefers warm climates

African Black Duck Origins

The African black duck makes its home in the central and southern areas of Africa. This duck is known for its long range. This is why populations of this duck can also be found in southeast Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, and western Africa. These ducks normally stay in pairs or flocks and are fond of running water like rivers and streams.

African Black Duck Characteristics

Normally seen in pairs or flocks, the African black duck is considered a shy bird. This is why they prefer to stay in the hills of Africa with their nests near running streams. At night, these daring birds abandon their normal rivers and streams to enjoy hitting the open water. While they may be shy birds, they are also very territorial. This sense of territorialism only increases when a pair of African black ducks are breeding.


The African black duck is normally hunted for its meat. These sizable birds can provide ample breast meat, especially the drakes, who are naturally larger than the females.

Male African Black Duck perched on a log
Image Credit: Daniel Danckwerts, Shutterstock

Appearance & Varieties

The African black duck features gorgeous colorings with black plumage and white markings over the face and back. These birds also have blue wingtips and yellow feet. The faces feature blue bills and deep, brown eyes.

In most situations, drake African black ducks are larger than the females. Males, or drakes, can grow up to 22 inches. Hens normally range between 14 and 19 inches.


While the population trend of the African black duck is on a decline, the vast numbers of these birds found in the country of Africa have helped them avoid finding themselves endangered. The free-range habits of these ducks allow them to inhabit many parts of Africa. Wherever these birds can find a stream or river, they will attempt to claim territory.


Are African Black Ducks Good for Small-Scale Farming?

The African black duck is not considered a farm animal. These ducks live their lives in the wilds of Africa and make their homes on streams and rivers using grass and driftwood. These ducks prefer to feed on small fish, crabs, snails, larvae, and plant material.

While the African black duck is territorial, they are also considered one of the shy duck breeds. They are most similar to the common mallard but are easily their own, strong species. As a prominent duck species in their area, these birds prefer being with one another or in a flock. This can make hunting them for their meat more difficult. While these ducks may be considered quite common, their numbers are still considered small in comparison to other species around the world. Over the next few years, conservation should be kept in mind to keep these beautiful creatures part of our world.

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Featured Image Credit: Martin Fowler, Shutterstock