Waterbird of small size (approx 40 cm or 15.5 in). Sandy brown plumage in general, with a whitish speckling on the back, flanks and anal area. Dark mask on the face, topknot of feathers that simulate a pigtail and fluted plumage on the head and neck. Thin, dark bill. Swimming duck.
Wetlands of shallow waters with emergent and submerged vegetation. Present in both brackish and fresh waters. This duck avoids artificial wetlands and with permanent waters.
Occasional and vagrant or dispersive species in the province. It makes one annual laying of at least 12 eggs from May. Nest under dense vegetation or shrubs, always near water. Swimming duck. The Marbled Duck feeds on plants and aquatic rhizomes without getting to dive and in shallow areas. It also consumes aquatic invertebrates.
Very rare and irregular bird in the province. There are sporadic watching records in Rio Grande and at the mouth of the Guadalhorce. Recently the reproduction in this last place has been verified, but it is for now a single event. Ten to fifteen years ago it was seen more frequently in the Fuente de Piedra lagoon and in the mouth of the Vélez river. The disappearance of the main breeding wetland of the species, in Alicante, clearly affected the province since marbled ducks were not seen regularly anymore.
Together with the White-Headed Duck it is the most vulnerable aquatic species and in danger of extinction of those present in the province. In Andalusia it is only present in Doñana and occasionally in Almeria. Its Latin name means that it is a duck ("netta") with marbled plumage ("marmaros") and fine bill ("angustus-rostris").