Black-headed Duck (Heteronetta atricapilla) »Planet of Birds

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[order] ANSERIFORMES | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Heteronetta atricapilla | [authority] Merrem, 1841 | [UK] Black-headed Duck | [FR] Heteronette a tete noire | [DE] Kuckucksente | [ES] Black Head Duck (Arg, Bo, Uy), Duck Rinconero | The Black-headed Duck (Heteronetta atricapilla) is a South American duck allied to the stiff-tailed ducks in the subfamily Oxyurinae of the Anatidae family. [NL] Koekoekseend

It is the only member of the Heteronetta genus. This is the most basic living member of its subfamily, and it lacks the stiff tail and swollen bill of its relatives. A lot of resembling to fairly typical diving duck, its plumage and other peculiarities give away that it is not very close of these, but rather the product of convergent evolution in the ancestors of the stiff-tailed ducks

The Black-headed Duck has a distinctive shape: the wings are relatively short, contributing to long-bodied appearance, which is accentuated by the relatively long bill and flat crown. This duck is relatively unpatterned. The male is mostly dark brown with a black head; the bill is bluish, and has a red spot at the base during breeding. The female is dusky brown above; the underparts and sides to the face are paler brown, spotted or vermiculated with dusky.

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South America: Southcentral. Found in central Chile (from Region Metropolitana de Santiago to Valdivia Province) and from central Paraguay south to central Argentina (northern portions of Buenos Aires and La Pampa provinces), including coastal portions of Uruguay and southernmost Brazil.

Brood parasitic. The Black-headed Duck is the only precocial, brood parasitic species. Host species of the Black-headed Duck provide parental care for incubation only. Incubation period about 24-25 days; ducklings brooded by host at most 1 or 2 days before leaving the nest on their own. Captive female laid egg in nest of Rosy-billed Pochard (Netta peposaca) during 8m visit; early behavior of two nestlings seemingly quite different, one young? hatched before host? s eggs? was initially quite active climbing over host and then left the female the next morning; second young hatched along with host? s young? accompanied the host brood, but until further afield it is 4 days later. Three species are known to have reared this brood parasite: Rosy-billed Pochard Netta peposaca, Red-fronted Coot Fulica rufifrons, and Red-gartered Coot Fulica armillata.

Little information. In an examination of 27 gizzards, seeds of Scirpus californicus were a major item in 20 gizzards, as were snails in 5 gizzards. Dives for food; dives for 3-14s with 2-12s for the rest at the surface between dive

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Partially migratory, although movements not well documented.