Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Falkland Steamerduck (Tachyeres brachypterus)


French: Brassemer des Malouines German: Falkland-Dampfschiffente Spanish: Pato vapor malvinero
Other common names: Falkland Flightless Steamerduck

Anas brachyptera


, 1790,

Falkland Islands


Flying populations in Falkland Is, hitherto classified as T. patachonicus, recently found to be “genetically indistinguishable” from flightless populations of present species on same islands, with the inference that the flying and flightless birds belong to a single, partially flighted species#R, but further study required to confirm these findings; flightless populations breed along coast, unable to reach inland freshwater lakes where flying populations breed almost exclusively, so hybridization is unlikely to be the cause of genetic similarity, and indeed reproductive isolation may ultimately lead the two forms to diverge further. In a separate recent phylogenetic study, present species was found to form a clade with T. pteneres (using a captive individual of latter)#R. Previously considered to form a superspecies with T. pteneres and T. leucocephalus. T. brachydactyla is a synonym. Monotypic.


Falkland Is.

Descriptive notes

61–74 cm; male c. 3300–4800 g, female 2900–4196 g. Male’s grey head contrasts little with rest of plumage; base of foreneck shows faint earth-coloured... read more


Vocalizations similar to those of T. patachonicus, with males calling most frequently... read more


Frequents rugged shorelines, being most common on small islands and in sheltered bays, but also... read more

Food and feeding

Variety of saltwater molluscs (mussels, limpets) and, to lesser extent, crustaceans (crabs, shrimps) constitute base of diet, much like... read more


Season variable and may nest virtually year-round, but most breeding occurs mid Sept–Dec, at least on Falkland Is. In single pairs;... read more


Reportedly sedentary, with some small-scale movements within Falkland Is. Essentially flightless.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and common to abundant around coasts of Falklands, with an estimated population of 9000–16,000 pairs during the... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Falkland Steamerduck (Tachyeres brachypterus). 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 21 November 2019).