Celebrating Australian Ducks
Australia has a diverse range of Ducks which inhabit its many waterways. Those being Australian Shelduck, Australian Shoveler, Australian Wood Duck (Maned Duck), Blue billed Duck, Chestnut Teal, Cotton Pygmy-goose, Freckled Duck, Green Pygmy-goose, Grey Teal, Hardhead (White – eyed Duck), Musk Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Plumed Whistling Duck, Spotted Whistling Duck, Radjah Shelduck, and Wandering Whistling Duck.
I have had the pleasure of photographing several Australian Ducks and I will update this post with birds once I photograph them.
Several Australian Ducks have adapted well to human habitation with many common within local town parks. Sadly some species have struggled including the beautiful Freckled Duck with is now Endangered in Victoria and threatened in NSW. Australia is also home to the very strange looking Musk Duck. The male has a very unusual large leathery lobe beneath the bill and puts on quite the display during breeding season.
Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata)
The Australian Wood Duck also called the Maned Duck is very common throughout Australia and can be found in most suburban parks and waterways. They are also seen in woodland areas often perching in the trees. I mostly see them around dams and town parks.
Australasian Shoveler (Anas variegata)
The Australasian Shoveler is a moderatly common duck located throughout Eastern Australia and South West WA. It has a distinctive large saptulate black bill. It is located in heavy vegetated swamps, floodwaters, dams and Treatment ponds. They are not very common in the Shoalhaven and I have only seen them on a few occasions. Once at Flatrock Dam when we had all our Freckled Ducks and once at the Nowra Treatment Plant. The photos above are of the NZ Subspecies.
The male Blue-billed Duck is very distinctive with its blue bill and chestnut colour. It is a relatively small duck at 36-44cm. This bird is not very common and I have only seen it once in Victoria. The female as you can see is very plain in comparison and reminded me of a female Musk Duck.
The Chestnut Teal is a common but beautiful duck. The male is very distinctive with its green head which seems almost iridescent in certain light. The female is dark brown and is very similar to the Grey Teal but lacks the pale throat and lighter overall colour. One of the best ways to tell the difference is the female Chestnut is usually in company with at least one male with the green head.
A very rare duck that has suffered from shooting and habitat destruction. They get their name from their freckled plumage. The Freckled Duck has had a very successful few years and birds are turning up all over Eastern Australia. We recently had 220 Freckled Duck turn up in Nowra.
Australia’s most widespread duck is the Grey Teal, they can be found on nearly anywhere water can be found. They are very similar to Chestnut Teal females however they are noticeably lighter in colour with a pale throat.
The Hardhead also commonly known as the White-eyed Duck due to the males white eye. They are common throughout Australia except the driest regions. They are a beautiful mahogany colour with white under the tail and breast.
Pacific Black Duck
Plumed Whistling Duck