The Flightless Steamerduck is distributed from Chiloe southwards to Tierra del Fuego. It is never found on freshwater and breeds near the shore.
|It feeds mainly on shellfish and crustaceans which it catches by diving among kelp beds.
It is a large duck with very short wings and incapable of flight. It does "steam" across the surface of the sea a bit like a paddle steamer (see the photos for Flying Steamer-duck).
|Both males and females have an orange bill though these birds bills are less orange than the illustrations in the HBW and in Jaramillo. Alvaro Jaramillo tells me that "the dull bill colour is a bit odd (like in Falkland birds) and may be age related."|
|He also told me about the spurs on the wing in the bird in photos 4, 5 and 6: "The orange bumps on the wing are typical of both steamer-ducks, they are modified spurs used in fights. They are often dull and worn down in flightless, and much more pointed and slimmer in flying." This bird certainly looks as though it has been in a fight recently judging from the blood on its head. You can see the smaller spurs on Flying Steamer-duck on photos 3 and 4 of that page.|
|I had originally misidentified this solitary bird as Flying Steamerduck but as Alvaro Jaramillo points out, "You can see the huge bill, small wings, elephant-like legs (not usually a field mark as they tend to be swimming) as well as the short and non-curled tail."|