This beautiful duck has been present in waterfowl fanciers collections for years and has recently begun increasing in popularity.
In the wild Rosybills (Netta peposaca) are a common duck found on lakes and marshes with dense vegetation in South America ranging through southern Brazil south into Argentina and Chile. In the wild these ducks are not considered threatened or endangered. These ducks received their name from the drakes distinctive large, rosy colored bill that has a prominent knob at the base. Drakes are stunning with their glossy black plumage and lighter grey sides all delicately marked with tiny white spangles. The head often catches the light reflecting a purplish iridescence. Females true to most waterfowl are a pleasant brown color with a slate-blue bill. As the hen ages her face will become more white with each molt. Adults weigh about 2.5 lbs. Rosybills are classified as a "diving duck" but behave and feed in a manner much more similar to "dabbling ducks". They are closely related to Europe's Red-crested Pochard, as well as North America's Redhead these species can and will hybridize in captivity so care should be taken to house these species separately. Other reports of hybridization include the White-faced Whistling Duck, Wood Duck, and Comb Duck. These birds are model citizens in the aviary and well suited for mixed collections. They can be slightly aggressive with their own territory so if housing more than one pair be sure each has plenty of space. Provided the aviary is well planted breeding these ducks is quite easy. Some females will accept nesting boxes on the ground while other hens prefer to nest directly on the ground hidden in aviary plantings. In the US the breeding season generally begins in the middle of May and the hen lays 10-14 cream to greenish colored eggs on average in her nest lined with soft down. Eggs are incubated for 27-28 days. Rosybill hens are well known for laying eggs in the nests of other species (a form of nest parasitism). Care should be taken to ensure your Rosybills do not interfere or disturb other species nesting in their enclosure. If you pull and artificially incubate a hens first clutch she will usually lay a second (called double clutching). Hens lay in their second year and production from the third year on is most productive. Ducklings are easy to raise and interesting to watch if raised by an attentive mother. Drakes usually gain their adult plumage in their first year and are capable of breeding. Rosybills do enjoy water deep enough for diving as they do live up to their family name. A water depth of at least three feet is ideal. They are not as picky about their water quality as some ducks so crystal clear, pristine water is not an absolute must. However water quality should be as good as you can achieve for any waterfowl in your care. Rosybills are winter hardy, only requiring a dry shelter to escape from winter wind and precipitation. Often they sleep on the water. Their diet should include a quailty waterfowl pellet or crumble and can be supplemented with grain and catfish food. These birds are well-suited for the beginner in exotic waterfowl and anyone wanting a species with a friendly disposition and calm demeanor combined with beauty, elegance, and grace should try their hand with this wonderful ducks.