The Marbled Duck is a beautiful waterfowl inhabiting the wetlands and marshes of Iberia, North Africa, and the Middle East. This duck has a unique appearance, and it is named after its marbled-looking feathers. It belongs to the Anatidae family, which includes ducks, geese, and swans, and its scientific name is Marmaronetta angustirostris.
The Marbled Duck is a small-sized duck, measuring around 38-40 cm in length with a wingspan of approximately 60-75 cm. Males and females of this species have a very similar appearance, with both having a distinctive marbled plumage of brown, black, and white colors. The bill of this duck is short and has a dark coloration, while the eyes are reddish-brown, giving the bird an alert expression.
This duck is an elusive and secretive bird that prefers to stay concealed in its wetland habitat. It is mostly active during the early mornings and late evenings, and it feeds on seeds, aquatic plants, and invertebrates. These ducks use their bills to sift through mud and aquatic vegetation to find food.
Despite being a relatively common bird in some regions, such as the Iberian Peninsula, the Marbled Duck is still facing multiple threats to its survival. Habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation are the primary factors that have led to a decline in the species' population. Climate change has also had a significant impact on the bird's populations, altering its migration patterns and affecting its food supply.
To protect the Marbled Duck, conservationists are working towards preserving and restoring the bird's wetland habitats. Monitoring and surveying populations of the species to understand the effect of various threats on it are a priority. Currently, the Marbled Duck is listed as an endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Nevertheless, with continued conservation efforts, these birds can hopefully thrive once again.