Wild Fact #690 – Battle of the Waterfowl – Falkland Steamer Duck

Photo from Wikicommons

Hopefully all of my scheduled posts are working and you are actually reading this Wild Fact on Monday November 1st.  Wow, it is November already!! Since I am away all this week we are going to have another Wild Facts Theme.  This weeks theme will be Flightless Birds (thanks again, Agapelife for the suggestions).  To get it all started we are taking a trip to the Falklands to learn about a flying impaired duck called the Falkland Steamer Duck.  For those of you who are wondering the Falklands are Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean (about 460 km from South America). So now that we have the geography figured out lets find out a little more about this duck.

The Falkland Steamer Duck may not be able to fly but it can motor along the top of the water.  They are able to use their wings and feet as propellers as they plow through the water.  As you can imagine this causes quite the splashing action.   You know what else causes quite the splashing action?  Yes, you are right a hippo jumping into a swimming pool would cause a big splash but that isn’t what I was going to say.  What I was going to say was two or more Steamer Ducks battling it out at their waterfront home.  Now why would these ducks fight?  Keep reading to find out.

Mated Pair Standing Guard - Photo from Wikicommons

The Falkland Steamer Duck are very aggressive and territorial.  Normally a mated pair will bond up and patrol their territory.  The slightest hint of another Steamer Duck or intruder will cause the ducks to fling into action.  Now I am not talking about a normal bird fight here.  Most waterfowl will huff and puff and try to scare off their intruder.  The Falkland Steamer Duck actually walks the walk and will engage in a fierce battle where bloodshed often occurs.   This is one watery neighbourhood you don’t want to accidentally wander into late at night.

So we have a highly aggressive and territorial mated pair of ducks but what about the rest of the individuals.  Often the un-mated ducks will band together with the immature ducks forming a lonely support group.  In some cases this group can get up to 300 or more Falkland Steamer Ducks.  That is a lot of lonely little ducks.  Of course, these flocks of Steamer Ducks still have to respect the mated pairs wishes which means those 300 ducks are still not allowed to enter the territory of a mated pair.  Talk about snobby, uninviting ducks.  Once they get in a  relationship they just ditch their friends.

Wow that first Wild Fact on Flightless Birds went pretty quick.  Tune into tomorrow to find out if the next flight challenged bird is just as interesting as the Falkland Steamer Duck.  I am hoping they are even more exciting!  Have a great day folks.

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