Often seen in pairs or small groups of four to twelve individuals (2), Meller’s ducks only form larger flocks when feeding or roosting during the day (4). They feed on a variety of foods found in their freshwater habitat, including aquatic vegetation, seeds and invertebrates, particularly molluscs (2) (4).
During the nesting season, which extends between September and April, Meller’s ducks are highly territorial and monogamous pairs will aggressively defend a section of the river or stream (2) (3) (4). Females build a nest of plant material and feathers in thick vegetation at the water’s edge, without the assistance of the male (3). Into this nest the female lays one egg each day (3), until a clutch of five to ten smooth, dull white eggs have been laid (2) (4). Once the final egg of the clutch has been laid, the female commences incubation by sitting on the eggs (3), where she will remain for 26 to 28 days (4), only leaving for short periods to quickly forage for food and water (3). While the male does not participate in nest building or incubating, he remains close to the nest throughout this period, protecting his mate, eggs and hatchlings from any potential intruders (3). Sometimes, pairs may come together again for consecutive breeding seasons (4). The hatchlings fledge at 11 weeks of age and begin breeding themselves at one year of age (4). In captivity, Meller’s ducks have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years (3).