Pink Headed Duck


A female pink headed duck, painting of it floating on calm water
A female pink headed duck, painting of it floating on calm water

Basic Description
  • Males have a pink bill
  • Females have a pink head and neck
  • Females have a paler bill
  • Was considered extinct since 1950

Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Animalia
Phylum:
Chordata
Class:
Aves
Order:
Anseriformes
Genus:
Rhodonessa
Species:
R. caryophyllacea

Historic illustration from Hume and Marshall's Game birds of India, Burmah and Ceylon.
Historic illustration from Hume and Marshall's Game birds of India, Burmah and Ceylon.


Identification: Large, long-bodied and long-necked duck, with dark brown body and foreneck. Deep pink head and hind neck. Bill pink, legs and feet reddish black. Females and juveniles similar but duller. Possibility of confusion with Red-crested Pochard, as darker crown and nape of female and whitish-pink head could suggest head pattern of female of that species. In flight look for a bulky body, broad wings, long neck and short tail coupled with unique head-and-body coloration.
Habits: Formerly inhabited secluded pools and marshes among tall grass in northeastern India. Occurred in pairs or small parties, with flocks of 30-40 on record. Recorded as sometimes perching in trees. Considered to have been shy, wary and rather elusive birds.
Food: Omnivorous, taking water weeds and molluscs. Fed by dabbling on water surface while swimming, but also said to dive occasionally.
Breeding: Breeding season June-July. Nested on ground among tufts of tall grass, fairly close to water.
Illustration of the head
Illustration of the head


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