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Can You Pet a African Black Duck

  • Pet Care

What is an African Black Duck?

An African Black Duck (Anas antarctica) is a species of duck that is native to much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, and the southwestern Arabian Peninsula. This species is mostly black in color, with a white breast, dark bill and legs, and purple-bronze on the shoulders. It shows considerable variation both within and between populations, with some having whitish bits on the face, breast, or wings, and in some cases, barring on the wings or upper body. Though related to Mallards, African Black Ducks are generally much smaller, with males measuring 46-51 cm (18-20 in) and weighing 1.2-1.5 kg (2.6-3.3 lbs) and females 46-49 cm (18-19 in) and weighing 1.1-1.3 kg (2.4-2.9 lbs). They often feed in shallow waters, eating aquatic plants, small invertebrates, and some seeds.

African Black Duck as a pet

Can You Pet a African Black Duck?

The short answer to this question is that it generally not recommended that you pet a wild African Black Duck. Though they are not especially aggressive birds, they do have sharp claws and beaks and may bite or scratch if handled roughly, especially when startled or cornered. African Black Ducks also have the potential to pick up and spread various diseases, and if handled incorrectly, can transmit them to humans.

However, if you encounter a wild or domesticated African Black Duck and have the opportunity to interact with it, you certainly can pet it, provided that you do so with the proper respect, safety, and caution. If a duck appears to be relaxed, approach it slowly and quietly. Talk to it calmly, and extend a finger to touch it lightly. Be sure to keep in mind that the bird can move quickly, so stay prepared to back away in case it moves aggressively or away from you.

Though wild African Black Ducks can be difficult to bypass and tame and therefore generally not suggest as pets, there are some people who do keep them as pets in a well-cared for environment. If you are considering doing so, however, keep in mind that African Black Ducks are social animals, so you need to prepare for two or more ducks, not just one.

Do African Black Ducks Like to be Pet?

Generally, African Black Ducks do not like to be picked up, carried, or handled. However, some individuals may be more docile and thus more accepting of touch. Those ducks that are hand-raised are typically more tolerant of physical contact than those that are not.

In general, African Black Ducks prefer to socialize with other ducks and typically do not like to be kept alone. If kept in a small noisy environment with limited space and no companions, they may act out aggressively in order to try to get away. Therefore it is important to give them plenty of space, quiet, and several other duck friends in order to truly pet and socialize with them.


African Black Ducks are generally not recommended as pets as they can be difficult to tame, however, there may be some individuals which are more accepting of being pet. If you find yourself in the presence of an African Black Duck, take the proper precautions, approach it slowly and calmly, and pet it gently if it appears to be comfortable. Remember, the bird can move quickly, so be ready to back away if it appears agitated or does not tolerate interaction.

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