falklands steamer duck

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The Falkland Steamer Duck, known locally as the Logger Duck, is a flightless bird found only in the Falkland Islands. These birds can be found with no great effort in the Islands along all low-lying coasts where there is shelter from the full force of the South Atlantic Ocean. In world terms it is a rare bird: it occurs here and nowhere else. Its total population has been estimated (1997) at up to 16,000 pairs of birds.

The male is larger and paler overall. In general, he is grey or white about the head, while the female’s head is brown with a white eye-ring and a thin while line curving from the eye down the side of the head. Young males and some adult males in moult may also have a white line behind the eye, but this is less clear-cut. Differences in colouration between male and female are not unusual in the duck family. Only females incubate the eggs. The male’s more ‘showy’ appearance serves to attract the female, and makes him more obvious to other birds when defending his territory.

The male is large – one of the biggest ducks in the world. An adult drake may weigh around 3½ kg and measure 80cms from the tip of his bill to the end of his tail. Both sexes, when adult, have orange-yellow legs and feet. Those of immature birds, of either sex, are paler and have black marks at the heel and toe joints. All individuals have spurs, bare of feathers, at the angle of the wing.


Steamer ducks feed on a variety of small marine animals living on the seabed. They will upend to feed in very shallow water, but mainly they dive to secure their prey. They use both wings and feet to propel themselves underwater. When one bird from a large flock dives, often most of the others go down at the same time.


The nest itself is a slight hollow in the ground lined with grass and soft down feathers. It is usually within easy sprinting distance of the seashore, but nests have been found up to 400 metres from the sea. Typically, the bird lays 5 – 8 eggs, rarely more. The female alone does all the incubation, as is usual with duck species. She will leave the nest to bathe and preen for 15 – 30 minutes each day, covering her eggs with nest materials before she goes.

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