White-backed Duck

Thalassornis leuconotus

This small, compact duck is most closely related to whistling ducks and is a locally common resident and nomad at wetlands with lilies or other floating vegetation. Well adapted for diving and distinct from all other ducks, this species is one of the harder ducks to find in southern Africa.

I had been unsuccessfully trying to find them for over two years when I heard that they had been seen at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in May 2012. I quickly planned a trip to the reserve and found these little ducks at one of the entrance dams. My best experience with this species, however, took place in March 2014 at Bullfrog Pan in Benoni, where we came across two breeding pairs. One pair of these unique ducks was busy raising four little ducklings. It was an awesome experience!


White-backed Duck / Bullfrog Pan, Benoni, South Africa / 01 March 2014 White-backed Duck / Bullfrog Pan, Benoni, South Africa / 28 February 2015 White-backed Duck – adult & duckling / Bullfrog Pan, Benoni, South Africa / 01 March 2014 White-backed Duck / Bullfrog Pan, Benoni, South Africa / 28 February 2015 White-backed Duck – duckling / Bullfrog Pan, Benoni, South Africa / 01 March 2014 White-backed Duck – adult & duckling / Bullfrog Pan, Benoni, South Africa / 01 March 2014 White-backed Duck / Bullfrog Pan, Benoni, South Africa / 01 March 2014 White-backed Duck – adults & ducklings / Bullfrog Pan, Benoni, South Africa / 01 March 2014 White-backed Duck (adult & ducklings) / Bullfrog Pan, Benoni, South Africa / 01 March 2014 White-backed Duck / Bullfrog Pan, Benoni, South Africa / 28 February 2015 White-backed Duck (adult & ducklings) / Bullfrog Pan, Benoni, South Africa / 01 March 2014 White-backed Duck (adults & ducklings) / Bullfrog Pan, Benoni, South Africa / 01 March 2014 White-backed Duck / Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, South Africa / 03 November 2013 White-backed Duck / Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, South Africa / 27 October 2013 White-backed Duck / Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, South Africa / 21 April 2013
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