The Philippine Duck (Anas luzonica) is the country’s only endemic duck. It is a medium-sized dabbling or surface-feeding bird. It frequents most freshwater marshes, shallow lakes, open sea and rice fields. It forages in shallow water for shrimp, fish, insects, and vegetation.
With its rusty-cinnamon head and bluish-grey bill, the Philippine duck is a rather distinctive bird. Its body and legs are grayish-brown. Blackish crown, nape and eye-stripe. When in flight, a well-defined patch of glossy green on the wing can be clearly seen, which is bordered with black and white on the top side, and a white underside. The sexes look the same, and juveniles are slightly paler than adults.
The Philippine duck, as with other wildlife, is protected by Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. RA 9147 promotes ecological balance and enhances biodiversity by conserving and protecting wildlife species and their habitats. To date, two areas have been declared by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as critical habitats of this bird: a 27-hectare wetland area in Cabusao, Camarines Sur, and the 178-hectare Malasi Tree Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Cabagan, Isabela.
This remarkable duck has also been reportedly sighted in other areas such as Caylabne Bay in Cavite; Subic Bay, Zambales, Maria Aurora Memorial Natural Park in Aurora; Mt. Iglit Baco and Naujan Lake in Mindoro Island; and Candaba Marsh in Pampanga.
It is classified as “vulnerable” under the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). There are 5,000 or fewer Philippine ducks alive today and its population is on a continuing decline. Over-hunting and habitat loss has contributed to its decline. If we neglect protecting the species, the Philippine duck could disappear in the blink of an eye.