White-backed Duck ( Thalassornis leuconotus, family: Dendrocygnidae)

white backed duck kruger national park birds The White-backed Duck (Latin name Thalassornis leuconotus) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 101 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 87 also a picture of the White-backed Duck on page 96. The White-backed Duck belongs to the family of birds classified as Dendrocygnidae.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The White-backed Duck is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

In terms of distribution of the White-backed Duck in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. White-backed Duck : see above distribution map.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

The White-backed Duck is a bird about the size of a Francolin now called Spurfowl. The height of the White-backed Duck is about 43 cms and its weight is about 660 gms

You will find that the male White-backed Duck plumage and colours are different to that of the female White-backed Duck

  • Head is black.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is brown.
  • Back is black.
  • Legs are grey.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The White-backed Duck feeds in or around water mainly


Aquatic life forms

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The White-backed Duck is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Thalassornis leuconotus will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of White-backed Duck is to create the nest on water. The bird lays eggs which are brown in colour and number between 4 to 9

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for White-backed Duck are: wetlands and riverine areas

You will normally see the White-backed Duck in pairs or flocks and not as single birds.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Idada

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Witrugeend

German ... Weirckenente

Portuguese ... Pato-de-dorso-branco

French ... Dendrocygne dos blanc

Dutch ... Witrugeend

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 101

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website , www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za