The Knob-billed Duck, also known as the Comb Duck, is a unique and distinctive species of duck found mainly in tropical and sub-tropical regions across the world, such as Africa, Madagascar, India, and Southeast Asia. They are medium-sized birds, typically measuring 18-20 inches in length and weighing around 1.2-1.4 kg, with males being slightly larger than females.
One of the most striking features of the Knob-billed Duck is the prominent tubercle on the bill of the males, which gives the species its name. The tubercle becomes more prominent during the breeding season, and is thought to play a role in courtship rituals. The bill of the females lacks the tubercle, but is still shaped like a comb, which is why they are also called Comb Ducks. Both male and female birds have brown-colored feathers with distinctive white lines on the wings, and the males have a glossy green patch on the back and neck.
Knob-billed Ducks are mainly found in wetlands, marshes, and the edges of freshwater lakes and rivers, where they feed on a variety of aquatic plants, seeds, and insects. They are also known to occasionally feed on small fish and crustaceans. During the breeding season, the males perform elaborate courtship displays, such as bobbing their heads, swimming around the females, and presenting their bills towards them.
The Knob-billed Duck is known for its fascinating behavior of forming monogamous and lifelong pairs. These pairs often brave out natural disasters as one single unit. They are also known for forming large flocks that can consist of hundreds or even thousands of individuals, especially during the non-breeding season.
Unfortunately, like many other waterfowl species, the Knob-billed Duck population is under threat due to habitat loss, pollution and hunting. However, with conservation initiatives, like wetland protection, awareness, and breeding and release programs, there is hope for the species to survive.