Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

African Comb Duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos)


French: Canard à bosse German: Glanzente Spanish: Pato crestudo afroasiático
Other common names: Knob-billed Duck, Grey-sided Comb Duck, Comb Duck (when lumped with S. sylvicola)

Anser melanotos


, 1769,

Sri Lanka


Usually considered conspecific with S. sylvicola. Monotypic.


Africa S of Sahara, and Madagascar; tropical Asia from Pakistan (where probably extirpated) through Indian Subcontinent to S Indochina.

Descriptive notes

64–79 cm; male 1300–2610 g, female 1230–2325 g. Unmistakable, although at least in Asia female might be confused with smaller Nettapus coromandelianus... read more


Generally rather silent. In display males hiss (becoming wheezy in flight) and in threat utter “guk... read more


Freshwater swamps, rivers and their deltas, lakes, rice fields, inundated floodplains, all with... read more

Food and feeding

Diet based on vegetable matter, mostly seeds of grasses, sedges and aquatic plants (including Potamogeton, water lilies), grain... read more


Virtually all information from Old World. Season variable, but generally during rainy season, e.g. Jul–Sept in Mali, Sept in Nigeria... read more


Mainly sedentary, with seasonal (perhaps even sometimes nomadic) movements mostly related to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Widespread and locally common. Healthiest populations in Africa, where locally abundant on well-watered savannas: 32,800... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). African Comb Duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 30 March 2020).