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Andean Duck - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Sussex bird man
Laguna Nimez, Argentina, November 2006
Oxyura ferruginea


Length 35–43 cm, wingspan 53-62 cm, weight 310-800 g
A small diving duck. Compact body with large head and stiff tail often cocked up, give it a very distinctive shape. Wings plain dark brown in all ages and seasons.

Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Río Lurín-- Desembocadura, Lima, Peru, 13 December 2017

Breeding male

  • Striking blue bill
  • Black head
  • Red-brown body

Non-breeding male

  • Grey-brown body
  • Head much as summer male but slightly duller


  • Dull brown
  • Blended face pattern lacking distinct stripes


  • Very similar to female.


South America: Andes from Colombia south to Argentina and Chile.


Closely related to the other "stifftails" of the genus Oxyura and formerly treated conspecific with Ruddy Duck.


Two subspecies are accepted[1]:

  • O. f. andina:
  • Lakes and marshes of Central and Eastern Andes of Colombia. Intermediate (possibly hybrid[3]) between O. jamaicensis and O. a. ferruginea, with cheeks patchy black.
  • O. f. ferruginea:


Marshes, ponds and lakes with areas of open water and emergent vegetation.



Dives to feed. Often sinks low in water before diving or even sinks completely to feed without diving.
Rarely seen on land as it walks poorly. They are not often seen in flight.
It cocks the tail much of the time. Except when on the nest spends much time on open water or diving for food.


A diving duck.
Their diet consists of aquatic insects, molluscs, crustaceans and worms. Also aquatic plant seeds.


Breeding season varies through range, breeds all year in the tropics.
A seasonally monogamous species. The nest is a bowl made of dead vegetation on ground or on water, hidden in dense vegetation. Lays 6 to 10 eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F & D Donsker (Eds). 2018. IOC World Bird List (v8.2). doi : 10.14344/IOC.ML.8.2. Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334108
  4. del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Andean Duck (Oxyura ferruginea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/467111 on 24 November 2018).
  5. Jaramillo, A. 2003. Birds of Chile. Princeton & Oxford: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691117409
  6. BF Member Observations

Recommended Citation

External Links

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