Hartlaubs Duck (Pteronetta hartlaubii)

Hartlaubs Duck

[order] ANSERIFORMES | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Pteronetta hartlaubii | [authority] Cassin, 1859 | [UK] Hartlaubs Duck | [FR] Pteronette de Hartlaub | [DE] Hartlaubente | [ES] Pato de Hartlaub | [NL] Hartlaubs Eend


Monotypic species


The Hartlaub’s Duck (Pteronetta hartlaubii) is a dark chestnut-coloured duck of African forests. Formerly included in the paraphyletic “perching duck” assemblage, it was later moved to the dabbling duck assemblage.[2] However, it is fairly distinct from the “typical” dabbling ducks, and is placed in the monotypic genus Pteronetta to reflect this. DNA Analysis suggests that it belongs into a very distinct clade ?possibly a subfamily of its own? together with the Blue-winged Goose, another African species of waterfowl with uncertain affinities.

Physical charateristics

It is a fairly large duck with a dark head and dark chestnut body. The wing coverts are pale blue and can be seen well in photo 1. The bill is blackish with a pale tip. The male has white at the base of the bill but this is lacking in the female

Listen to the sound of Hartlaubs Duck

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/ANSERIFORMES/Anatidae/sounds/Hartlaubs Duck.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 56 cm size max.: 58 cm
incubation min.: 30 days incubation max.: 32 days
fledging min.: 52 days fledging max.: 60 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 7  
      eggs max.: 11  


Africa : West, Westcentral. Pteronetta hartlaubii has a widespread distribution in Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Angola.


The species is found in forested areas, in particular in secluded marshes and pools within dense, swampy, lowland tropical evergreen forest and gallery forest. It is also found along small rivers and streams in well-wooded savanna areas, and is recorded from salt pans in Congo and Cameroon. It requires areas of open water such as large rivers or lakes on which to moult.


No nest has ever been found in the wild, however observations from captive populations suggest that nest sites are most likely to be in tree holes and hollow trees or occasionally on the ground amongst dense cover. In captivity the 7-11 eggs are incubated for about a month and the young fledge after another 2 months.

Feeding habits

The species generally feeds nocturnally, its diet consisting of aquatic invertebrates (insects, arachnids, crustaceans and molluscs), seeds and roots.

Video Hartlaubs Duck


copyright: J. del Hoyo


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The primary threat to this species is habitat loss due to forest destruction (Scott and Rose 1996). Other threats include hunting, increases in slash-and-burn cultivation, water pollution from mining and poison-fishing, and hydrological changes owing to logging
Hartlaubs Duck status Least Concern


The species is sedentary throughout its range and only local movements have been recorded

Distribution map

Hartlaubs Duck distribution range map

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