The Marbled Duck, or Marbled Teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris), is a medium-sized duck. It used to be included among the dabbling ducks, but is now classed as a diving duck.
This duck formerly bred in large numbers in the Mediterranean region, but is now restricted to a few sites in southern Spain and northwest Africa. In the east it survives in Iran (Shadegan Marshes - the world's most important site), as well as isolated pockets in Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iraq. Its breeding habitat is lowland, shallow fresh waters. In some areas birds disperse from the breeding grounds, and have been encountered in the winter period in the Sahel zone, south of the Sahara.
The Marbled Duck is approximately 39-42 cm long. Adults are a pale sandy-brown colour, diffusely blotched off-white, with a dark eye-patch and shaggy head. Juveniles are similar but with more off-white blotches. In flight, the wings look pale without a marked pattern, and no speculum on the secondaries.
These are gregarious birds, at times even when nesting. Outside the breeding season flocks are often small, although large wintering flocks have been reported in some areas.
These birds feed mainly in shallow water by dabbling or up-ending, occasionally diving. Little is known of their diet.
This bird is considered vulnerable due to a reduction in population caused by habitat destruction. It is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.
Marbled Teal at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore