Maccoa Duck (Oxyura maccoa), an Africa duck species, closely mirrors the plumage and body shape of the Ruddy Duck because it is also a member of the stiff-tailed duck group. All of the plumage on the male, regardless of color, is nothing short of brilliant and bright. Even the jet-black plumage on the head, neck, and upright tail appears bright. The body plumage is a ruddy or chestnut color. This species also displays a bright blue, somewhat flat, gently sloping bill. Females are gray-brown with white streaks being displayed below the eyes and sometimes extends down the neck. Females also lack the bright blue bill. Juveniles appear similar to the females and have unique characteristics like slimmer tail feathers and darker brown heads.
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At any time of year, Maccoa Duck is found from Eastern to Southern Africa. Breeding season typically occurs from January to May. Maccoa Ducks prefer habitats with freshwater and emergent vegetation. These areas can be natural or artificial like large dams, which provide year-round, deep water habitats for this species. Male Maccoa Ducks will mate with multiple females and do not participate in incubation or rearing of the young. Females will also lay their eggs in other female’s nests so that they do not have to raise the young either. Neither sex would be considered good parents from a human perspective, as eggs are frequently abandoned before and during incubation periods. After the breeding season, Maccoa Ducks reside in inland areas with fresh or brackish waters like lakes, ponds, river mouths, and sometimes sewage ponds.
Maccoa Duck is a diving duck that are so well equipped for swimming that they are very awkward when walking on land. They use their agility to forage for aquatic invertebrates and plant matter by sifting through muddy bottoms of lakes or ponds. One of their favorite invertebrates to consume includes mosquito larva, though they also frequently consume gastropods and ostracods.
Maccoa Ducks are least concern species. Whether their specific habitat preferences in an arid country or something else about their life life cycle, they are a particularly hard species to target while duck hunting South Africa.
MACCOA DUCK. A stiff-tailed duck similar to the North American ruddy, they’re extremely uncommon, favoring shallow lagoons and marshes with emergent vegetation. Hunted strictly under special permit, this is the first in many trips I’ve even laid eyes on them. The drake’s red color, black head is unmistakable—and that glow-blue bill pops even at a distance! Spot-and-stalk. While glassing rafts of ducks, especially backlit like this morning, it’s that characteristically erect “stiff” tail you’re looking for. We saw yesterday’s birds hundreds of yards away, inaccessible. This little gem was alone in a small pan with perfect conditions for a stalk. Exiting some tules he’d been feeding among, a forty-two yard shot completed my full South Africa waterfowl slam. Like all ruddy-type ducks, surprisingly hefty in hand. Felt real good, the closing of a chapter, the end of a great book.