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Torrent Duck - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 21:39, 27 April 2018 by Deliatodd-18346 (talk | contribs) (Picture of nominate female. Imp sizes. Some extra info. References updated)
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Male right, female left, subspecies leucogenis
Photo by Steve Sanchez
Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru, November 2014
Merganetta armata


Female, nominate subspecies
Photo by jmorlan
El Ingenio, Región Metropolitana de Santiago, Chile, February 2018

40–46 cm (15¾-18 in)
Small streamlined duck with rubbery red bill and long stiff tail.

  • White head and neck white
  • Black crown and stripe down hindneck
  • Black line from eye down side of neck
  • Rest of upperparts blackish more or less streaked tawny and gray
  • White underparts lightly streaked gray
  • Green wing speculum bordered white (hard to see).

Female very different

  • Bluish-gray crown and hindneck
  • Rest of upperparts like male
  • Sides of head and entire underparts orange cinnamon.


South America: found in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Tierra del Fuego.


Female, subspecies colombiana
Photo by nick scarle
San Isidro, Ecuador, August 2008


Male, subspecies colombiana
Photo by Robert Scanlon

There are 6 subspecies[1]:

  • M. a. colombiana:
  • M. a. leucogenis:
  • Andes of central and southern Ecuador and Peru
  • M. a. turneri:
  • Andes of southern Peru (Cuzco and Arequipa)
  • M. a. garleppi:
  • M. a. berlepschi:
  • M. a. armata:
  • Andes of Chile and adjacent Argentina south to Tierra del Fuego

An additional subspecies fraenata is generally considered invalid[2].


Fast flowing mountain rivers. Observed at heights of 8700 ft.



It nests in waterside caves.


Female with 2 ducklings, subspecies colombiana
Photo by JWN Andrewes
Quipucuna, Pichincha, Ecuador, 1989

Their diet consists almost entirely of aquatic invertebrates, particularly insect larvae and molluscs. They may also take some fish.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Apr 2018)
  4. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links