Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-billed Duck (Anas undulata)


French: Canard à bec jaune German: Gelbschnabelente Spanish: Ánade picolimón
Other common names: African Yellow-billed Duck

Anas undulata

C. F. Dubois

, 1839,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Traditionally thought to be closely related to A. melleri, A. platyrhynchos and A. rubripes. Has been linked to A. melleri, the two constituting the infragenus Afranus#R. Race ruppelli sometimes spelt rueppelli, but latter emendation of original is not justified. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. u. ruppelli Blyth, 1855 – South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda (no recent records#R) and N Kenya.
  • A. u. undulata C. F. Dubois, 1839 – Kenya SW to Angola and N Botswana and S to Western Cape Province (South Africa).
  • Also (race unknown) E Nigeria and NC Cameroon.

    Descriptive notes

    51–63 cm; male 533–1310 g, female 600–1123 g. Slightly bulbous-looking head and long, slender neck darker than body, while pale fringes to grey feathers... read more


    Typical A. platyrhynchos-like vocalizations, but “raeb” call of male is more whistle-like... read more


    Freshwater lakes, reservoirs with marginal vegetation, flooded fields, swamps and marshes, slow-... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds, roots, leaves and stems of both aquatic (Potamogeton) and terrestrial plants; also animal matter, mainly insects and their... read more


    Season variable, generally coincides with beginning of rains; Jul–Sept in Ethiopia, Jan, Apr–Jul in Kenya, Jun–Jul in... read more


    Mostly sedentary, with generally only small-scale, dispersive movements on record, mainly between... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common and widespread; most abundant duck in many parts of its range, especially in temperate regions, and capable of colonizing new... read more

    Recommended citation

    Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Yellow-billed Duck (Anas undulata). 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 14 December 2019).