The Freckled Duck is a moderately large, broad-bodied duck native to southern Australia. The duck is protected by law. The freckled duck feeds by dabbling in shallow water, often by wading near the edge. It prefers large, well-vegetated swamps, but moves to open water after breeding or in dry periods. In flight, it has a distinctive rapid wing beat and holds its head low, making it appear hunchbacked. It does not turn rapidly and lands clumsily.
Appearance: – The Freckled Duck has an even greyish-brown plumage with small white freckles, slightly paler on the belly and under-wing, a large head with a peaked crown, long narrow grey beak which is slightly turned up at the end, dark eyes, and the male, during the breeding season, has red at the base of the beak. Both sexes are similar.
Size: – Typical Adult is 19-23 inches.
Food: – Aquatic plants, seeds, sedges, algae, and small invertebrates.
Habitat: – Wetlands, freshwater swamps, lakes, ponds, and reservoirs in south-east and south-west Australia.
Breeding Season: – From September to December.
Eggs: – 5 to 14 (creamy-white color).
Notes: – The Freckled Duck is an Australian duck which feeds by dabbling in shallow water. Numbers are declining due to the loss of their wetland breeding grounds. This duck is protected by law in Australia.
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.