Australian Wood Duck
The Australian Wood Duck, maned duck or maned goose is a dabbling duck found throughout much of Australia. The Australian wood duck is widespread in Australia, including Tasmania. The Australian wood duck is found in grasslands, open woodlands, wetlands, flooded pastures and along the coast in inlets and bays. It is also common on farmland with dams, as well as around rice fields, sewage ponds and in urban parks. It will often be found around deeper lakes that may be unsuitable for other waterbirds’ foraging, as it prefers to forage on land.
Male – The male Australian Wood Duck has a dark brown head and upper neck, dark eyes, short dark beak, mostly pale grey body, mottled brown-grey breast, black lower belly and black under-tail, grey wings with black primaries and a white speculum. The Australian Wood Duck resembles a small goose.
Female – The female is paler with a white stripe above and below the eye, mottled breast and flanks, and white lower belly and white under-tail.
Size: – Typical Adult is 18-20 inches.
Food: – Mainly grazes on grasses, clover, and crops. Also dabbles in shallow water for aquatic plants, and occasionally insects.
Habitat: – Wetlands, lakes, rivers, lightly wooded swamps, marshes, open woodland, farmland and grasslands throughout much of Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania.
Breeding Season: – Usually September to November.
Eggs: – 9 to 11 (pale creamy-white color).
Notes: – The Australian Wood Duck resembles a small goose and is also called a Maned Duck or Maned Goose. It is endemic to Australasia and nests in tree hollows near to water. This duck prefers to graze on grassland rather than take to the water.
The different types of wild ducks can be grouped into puddle, aka “dabbling” and diving ducks. The dabblers mostly feed in smaller bodies of shallow water or along shorelines, where they are able to tip their bodies forward to reach their food on the bottom. There are divers who feed in deeper water where they dive and pursue their quarry. Some of these birds, the Harlequin Duck for example, actually dives to the bottom of fast-flowing waters and feeds on life forms attached to rocks.