Marbled Duck

Marmaronetta angustirostris - Sarcelle marbrée Marmaronette marbrée

  • Order 


  • Family


  • Genus


  • Species



Ménétriés, 1832

  • Size
    : 48 cm
  • Wingspan
    : 63 à 67 cm.
  • Weight
    : 450 à 590 g
Geographic range


Description identification

Sarcelle marbrée

The Marbled Duck is a small duck of the same size as a summer teal. It has long wings and a long tail giving it a graceful look. The dark beak is quite narrow. The legs are also dark in color. It has a light gray-brown body with distinct creamy spots on the top due to the brownish back. It has a dark comma near the eye and a crest which extends over the nape. In flight its wings are light and only a white patch at the wrist on the anterior edge of the wing and the absence of a mirror can be used to identify it.
Both sexes and immatures are almost similar. However the female is slightly smaller, the male has a more abundant crest and a darker beak and juveniles have less distinct spots.

Subspecific information monotypic species

Foreign names

  • Sarcelle marbrée,
  • Cerceta pardilla,
  • pardilheira,
  • Marmelente,
  • márványos réce,
  • Marmereend,
  • Anatra marmorizzata,
  • marmorand,
  • Marmorand,
  • kačka úzkozobá,
  • čírka úzkozobá,
  • Marmorand,
  • marmorisorsa,
  • xarxet marbrenc,
  • Dropönd,
  • marmurka,
  • marmora krīklis,
  • marmorna raca,
  • Мраморный чирок,
  • ウスユキガモ,
  • 云石斑鸭,
  • 雲石斑鴨,

Voice song and cries

Sarcelle marbrée

The male Marbled Duck sends out a shrill jeeep call when parading. It is generally silent.


Sarcelle marbrée

This small duck is very rare and localized. It can be found in shallow, densely vegetated ponds. Although it enjoys brackish marshes, too high a salinity is not suitable for it.

The choice of its habitat strongly depends on its variable food requirements, which in turn depend on the season, location and age. The species shows large population fluctuations, mainly due to annual variations in rainfall. The species must also adapt to the changing conditions of the habitats in which it lives. The reduction of suitable habitats after the hot and dry months of summer is probably a major contributor to the high mortality of both juveniles and post-nuptial adults. In winter, it visits open water areas.

Behaviour character trait

Sarcelle marbrée
adult plum. breeding

The Marbled Duck is a very shy monotypic species. It is also migratory.


Sarcelle marbrée
adult plum. breeding

Its flight is rather slow.

Dietfeeding habits

Sarcelle marbrée

The Marbled Duck is mostly vegetarian but it does not disdain invertebrates (Heteroptera, Diptera, Coleoptera and Ostracodes). Diptera is a major component of their diet before and during the breeding season. After this period it is mainly the small seeds (Scirpus) that are sought. Chicks are heavily dependent on the appearance of Chironomes.

Reproduction nesting

Sarcelle marbrée

NESTING: The Marbled Duck builds its nest between mid-April and late June. Laying 7 to 14 eggs. The incubation period lasts 25 to 27 days.

Geographic range

The populations of the Marbled Duck have a fragmented distribution in the Western Mediterranean (Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, wintering in Western and Sub-Saharan Africa), Eastern Mediterranean (Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Syria, wintering in southern Egypt) and Western and Southern Asia (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China, wintering in Iran, Pakistan and northwest India).

Threats - protection

IUCN conservation status
in the Wild

This species appears to have rapidly declined in population at the very heart of its distribution area, due to numerous and significant destructions of its habitat. Therefore, it is considered Vulnerable. However, the scarcity of data might be explained by bird movement to other sites. The apparent increase of population in the western Mediterranean probably reflects the increased pressure of observation more than the trend reversal.
The proposed conservation measures are geared towards a better knowledge of its ecology, protection of all the sites where the species is regularly present, reducing mortality due to hunting or other causes, and raising public awareness. The species is legally protected in Bulgaria, Israel, Morocco, Spain, Russia, Tunisia and Turkey. The Marbled Duck is also known as the Sarcelle marbrée.

Sources of information

Other sources of interest

QRcode Sarcelle marbréeSpecification sheet created on 03/08/2023 by
Translation by AI
published: - Updated: 10-07-2008
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