[order] ANSERIFORMES | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Lophonetta specularioides | [authority] King, 1828 | [UK] Crested Duck | [FR] Canard huppe | [DE] Schopfente | [ES] anade Juarjual | [NL] Andeseend
The Crested Duck (Lophonetta specularioides) is a species of duck native to South America, the only member of the monotypic genus Lophonetta. It is sometimes included in Anas, but it belongs to a South American clade that diverged early in dabbling duck evolution. There are two subspecies: L. specularioides alticola (Andean Crested Duck) and L. specularioides specularioides (Patagonian Crested Duck). The Patagonian Crested Duck is also called the Southern Crested Duck and its range lies in the Falklands, Chile, and Argentina. The Crested Duck is quite similar in appearance to the Marbled Duck which is found in the Old World. The Marbled Duck is classified as a diving duck so perhaps the Crested Duck will eventually be classified as a diving duck.
A relatively common duck of lower latitudes in South America, the Crested Duck has a distinctive crest and distinctive dark mask around the eye. Plumage variable in both sexes but female is smaller.
Listen to the sound of Crested Duck
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
South America : South. One race, Andean Crested Duck L. s. alticola, is resident in the high Andean lakes, nesting primarily above 4,000 m, from northern Peru and Bolivia to northern Chile and Argentina. The Patagonian Crested Duck inhabits lower altitudes in southern Chile, Argentinian Patagonia and the
The natural habitats used by this species are generally open lakes, creeks or sea shores. One race, Andean Crested Duck L. s. alticola, is resident in the high Andean lakes, nesting primarily above 4,000 m, from northern Peru and Bolivia to northern Chile and Argentina. The Patagonian Crested Duck
inhabits lower altitudes in southern Chile, Argentinian Patagonia and the Falkland Islands and may migrate to the coast in winter, often forming large flocks outside the breeding season.
Breeding birds are territorial and both sexes are very aggressive, chasing conspecifics and other, often larger, wildfowl species. Pair bonds are strong, and mates cooperate in caring for ducklings. High levels of vigilance, co-operation by both adults and aggressiveness allow Crested Ducks to nest in close proximity with predatory birds such as gulls Larus spp. and skuas Catharacta spp. Many of the displays of this species are conspicuous and striking, and females have loud calls. Male courtship displays have pronounced orientation components with respect to the target female. The long tail is often conspicuously raised, exposing the black undertail coverts, and the male?s crest is often erected during displays. The reproductive season of the duck varies according to geographical location. In the Andes it is mainly between January and March, whereas in more southern areas it tends to be later, between October and December. Preferred nesting habitat is on the ground in tall grass or shrubbery on small islets or lake shores, but occasionally further away from water. The nest is built by a solitary pair and is made up of vegetation and lined with their soft breast feathers. A clutch of eggs is made up of between five and eight cream-coloured eggs, which weigh about 56 g and are 63 x 43 mm in size. A double brood is quite common. Incubation is undertaken by the female, and takes about 30 days, following which the eggs hatch synchronously. Once hatched both parents tend to the ducklings. They fledge at about 10?11 weeks old.
They feed by dabbling or head-under in shallow water and are usually in habitats devoid of aquatic vegetation and much cover (these birds apparently do not rely on being able to escape detection by hiding). They are carnivorous, feeding on crustaceans, invertebrate larvae, clams and adult insects.
copyright: Laurent Demongin
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The taxonomy has been debated, but the Crested Duck is currently in its own genus, Lophonetta. Two subspecies have been described
Mostly sedentary with some seasonal altitudinal movements.