The Perching duck belongs to the subfamily Cairinini/Cairininae. These ducks are given the name due to their habit of perching on trees. They have outstanding talons on their webbed feet, which gives them better grips to perch and also have long claws on their toes.
About Perching Ducks
Perching ducks are species of waterfowl that typically inhabit wet woodlands, perch on branches, and nest in holes on trees, by means of their long-clawed toes.
The tribe is widely represented, especially in tropical areas. Perching ducks are closely similar to dabbling ducks; they resemble the dabbling ducks in feeding habits and, in some species, courtship behavior while in other respects they are like the shelducks.
Some possess a bony knob at the wing curve, and most species show white wing patches and black wing linings. Drakes are larger than hens and, on the whole, and are more brightly patterned—sometimes in metallic colours.
Perching Ducks Behaviour
“As the name implies, Perching Ducks tend to be rather more arboreal than other waterfowl. Given the chance both Mandarins and Carolinas spend much of their time perched high up in the trees around a favorite pool.
Small pools in a woodland clearing are far preferred to large open lakes. They are also capable of flying at speed through thickly wooded areas. In captivity Mandarins and Carolinas love to perch on a branch positioned over the water”.
Housing and Protection
“The facilities required to keep Mandarins and Carolinas are much the same as outlined in the BWA information leaflet “Starting To Keep Wildfowl” with the exception of their specialized nest boxes. They need a fox-proof pen with a small pond and plants or other covers to give shade and protection from the wind and weather.
The smaller species of Perching ducks adapt well to netted aviaries and are best enjoyed in relatively small enclosures as they tend to disappear in the distance of a large enclosure.
A branch across the edge of the pond will be a popular perching place and give an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of these birds. Ensure that there are no fence posts set at an angle or strong shrubs near the fence that a Mandarin could scramble up and escape”.
“This desire to be up amongst the branches is particularly strong when nesting. In the wild, the females are entirely dependent on suitable nesting cavities in hollow tree trunks. Thus in captivity, they like to get up off the
ground into a nest box with a small entrance hole. A potential nest box is shown.
Ringed Teal and Maned Geese also like to nest in raised boxes, the Ringed
Teal only requiring a small box with a small hole and the Maned Goose, of course, needs a larger box with a large hole. Brazilian Teal, the only other Perching Duck kept in any numbers, do not have to have a raised nest box as they will generally nest in cover on the ground. Mandarins and Carolinas both lay about 10 creamy white eggs and incubation lasts for about 30 days.
Although so closely related, a hybrid between the two species has never been reported. Carolinas often hybridize with dabbling or even diving ducks, but the Mandarin has been found to have a different chromosomal composition to all other ducks, thus preventing hybridization.
Perching Ducks Plumage
The males of both Mandarins and Carolinas are extremely ornate during the breeding season. They have a long flowing crest on the head and the Mandarin has enlarged tertiary wing feathers. These curious “sails” are dark blue below and orange above. Towards the end of May and the beginning of June, both species change over to an eclipse plumage rather similar to the females. Their bright breeding colors return during the autumn.
The females of the species are rather similar in appearance to each other, both being a pale
mottled greyish color with a white throat, eye stripes and belly.
How To Feed Perching Ducks
Feeding requirements are fairly simple for the commonly kept species of the Perching Ducks as they only need a mix of wheat and breeder or layers pellets. This should be fed twice a day at regular times allowing a small handful for each bird per feed. Maned Geese also need a permanent supply of short grass for
Species Of Perching Ducks
There are a plenty number of Peechind duck species; some of which include:
The Muscovy Duck
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