Falcated Duck (Anas falcata)

Falcated Duck

[order] ANSERIFORMES | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Anas falcata | [authority] Georgi, 1775 | [UK] Falcated Duck | [FR] Canard a faucilles | [DE] Sichelente | [ES] Cerceta de alfanjes | [NL] Bronskopeend


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Anas falcata EU e


Anas is a genus of dabbling ducks. It includes mallards, wigeons, teals, pintails and shovelers in a number of subgenera. Some authorities prefer to elevate the subgenera to genus rank.[1] Indeed, as the moa-nalos are very close to this clade and may have evolved later than some of these lineages, it is rather the absence of a thorough review than lack of necessity that this genus is rather over-lumped. The phylogeny of this genus is one of the most confounded ones of all living birds. Research is hampered by the fact the radiation of the two major groups of Anas ? the teals and mallard groups ? took place in a very short time and fairly recently, roughly in the mid-late Pleistocene. Furthermore, hybridization may have long played a major role in Anas evolution, with within-subgenus hybrids regularly and between-subgenus hybrids not infrequently being fully fertile.[1] The relationships between species are much obscured by this fact, and mtDNA sequence data is of dubious value in resolving their relationships; on the other hand, nuclear DNA sequences evolve too slowly to resolve the phylogeny of the subgenus Anas for example. Some major clades can be discerned. For example, that the traditional subgenus Anas, the mallard group, forms a monophyletic (in the loose sense, i.e. non-holophyletic) group has never been seriously questioned by modern science and is as good as confirmed (but see below). On the other hand, the phylogeny of the teals is very confusing. For these reasons, the dabbling duck lineages more distantly related to mallard group (which includes the type species of Anas) than the wigeons should arguably be separated in their own genera. These would include the Baikal Teal, the Garganey, the spotted black-capped Punanetta group, and the shovelers and other blue-winged species. Whether the wigeons, which are very distinct in morphology and behavior, but much less so in mtDNA cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequences, should also be considered a distinct genus Mareca (including the Gadwall and Falcated Duck) is essentially the one remaining point of dispute as regards the question which taxa should remain in this genus and which ones should not.

Physical charateristics

Medium-sized, large-headed, thickset dabbling duck with peaked forehead, mane on nape, unusually long inner secondaries, and straight bill. Male has purple-chestnut and bright green head and mane, white throat and foreneck crossed by green collar, grey body with profuse black crescents on breast, grey and black sickle-shaped secondaries covering black and yellow-buff stern, and pale grey forewing. Female in size and proportions most like female Gadwall, but easily distinguished by larger head, grey forewing, and green-and-black speculum. Females are dark brown, with plumage much like a female Mallard. Its long grey bill is an aid to identification. The eclipse male is like the female, but darker on the back and head. In flight both sexes show a pale grey underwing. The blackish speculum is bordered with a white bar on its inner edge. Young birds are buffer than the female and have short tertials.

wingspan min.: 80 cm wingspan max.: 88 cm
size min.: 48 cm size max.: 54 cm
incubation min.: 23 days incubation max.: 24 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 24 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 6  
      eggs max.: 9  


Eurasia : East


Breeding grounds in cool, northerly, middle latitudes of eastern Asia within forest limits, chiefly in river basins and by large or small lakes, in both open and wooded terrain. In winter, also on coastline and on floodlands and rice fields, as well as lakes and rivers.


Falcated Duck Male: Six to ten creamy white eggs are laid in nest built in ground, near water, under cover of tall, dense vegetation. Nest typically made of grasses and forbs and lined with down. Hen incubates eggs for about 26 days, sometimes assisted by male.

Feeding habits

Eats aquatic plants, seeds, and roots, but also occasionally takes snails, insects, small fish and frogs. Generally a surface feeder or dabbler but will sometimes tip or upend to feed or, more rarely, may dive. Grazes on land on forbs and grasses, but infrequently. Prefers marshy areas, ponds, estuaries, quiet rivers, shallow, coastal bays.

Video Falcated Duck


copyright: youtube


Although this species is clearly more abundant than once believed, it has been retained as Near Threatened owing to moderately rapid declines in China, as measured by survey data and inferred from very high levels of hunting.
The Falcated Duck or Falcated Teal (Anas falcata) is found in eastern Asia, particularly in eastern Siberia and northern China. It is widely recorded well outside its normal range, but the popularity of this beautiful duck in captivity clouds their true origins. Winters are spent in much of southeast Asia. It is social outside the breeding season when it will form large flocks.
Falcated Duck status Near Threatened


Winters in eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam) and scattered localities W to NE India. Vagrants occasional occur further W (to Iran, Jordan and Turkey) and also E (Aleutian Is), but wealth of observations in Europe and N America presumed to refer to escapes.

Distribution map

Falcated Duck distribution range map

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