AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK (Chenonetta jubata)

GOING BY THE DATE OF THE SHOT, THIS JUVENILE FEMALE AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK MUST HAVE BEEN ON THE MARIBYRNONG RIVER
A YOUNG MALE AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK – RINGWOOD LAKE, RINGWOOD (AN OUTER EASTERN SUBURB OF MELBOURNE WHERE I WAS BORN……ehrr IN A SMALL PRIVATE HOSPITAL (now demolished and replaced with a massive shopping centre), NOT IN THE LAKE.

The long neck and upright posture gives the duck the appearance of a small goose.  The male has a brown head with substantial drooping crest, chestnut-speckled grey breast, grey body and black rump, tail and under tail coverts.

ORNAMENTAL LAKE, ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, MELBOURNE
JUVENILE FEMALE AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK – TREASURY GARDENS, MELBOURNE

The female has distinctive stripes above and below the eye on a brown head.

NOT MUCH WATER LEFT IN THE MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS AT THE END OF SUMMER, 2017.
THIS FEMALE WAS CLEARLY INTENT ON SCARING ME OFF WHEN I GOT TOO CLOSE TO HER LARGE BROOD OF DUCKLINGS.
THIS SHOT FROM THE TREASURY GARDENS IN MELBOURNE CLEARLY SHOWS THE DUCKLINGS HAVE THE STRIPE ABOVE AND BELOW THE EYE,  DENOTING FEMALES.

I haven’t followed this up, but every tiny duckling I’ve ever seen, (and I’ve seen and/or photographed many), seems to have the stripe up and below the eye.   So I’m not sure whether all ducklings have this and the males head feathers change to all-brown as they grow OR, I’ve only ever seen female ducklings 🙂

I ASSUME THIS IS A TEENAGER ABOUT TO SHED ALL ITS SOFT DOWNY FEATHERS. THIS IS ONE VERY UGLY DUCKLING.
MORE TEENAGERS IN THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, MELBOURNE

CHESTNUT TEAL (Anas castanea)

CHESTNUT TEAL (male) – JAPANESE GARDEN, MELBOURNE ZOO
CHESTNUT TEAL (female) – JAPANESE GARDEN, MELBOURNE ZOO

Chestnut Teals are very common water birds and although classified as medium-large, are actually pretty small as far as dabbling ducks go.  The adult male has a very distinctive dark green head and black-speckled chestnut breast and belly.  The depth of green can seem very different depending on the light or sunshine on the day of being photographed (I notice in my bird photo library).

The females and eclipse (non-breeding) males are mottled brown, similar, but darker than a Grey Teal.  I find them hard to tell apart until I realised the Grey Teal has a much lighter neck, so my ability to identify them is improving.  There’s a mallard that has similar feather colouring too.

Chestnut Teals and Grey Teals both have red eyes.  I took a couple of photos of them down on the water last Wednesday, but the shadows on the birds were too dark to make the shots worth sharing, despite fiddling around with the contrast in post processing.

Most of the images above, were taken in the Japanese Garden at Melbourne Zoo.  The pond and landscaping is not enclosed or fenced, so I guess the avian inhabitants are either there for the free food or like the sheltered area of the water.  I noticed some of the birds do have leg tags though.

Next to the pond just outside the Wallaby/Kangaroo/Emu enclosure I saw this pair (below) which (seemingly) matched each others head position as I photographed them, but I suppose it might have been co-incidence.  This is not the first time I have seen bird pairs turn their heads in unison though.

…….and my favourite image of a Teal, (despite accidentally chopping the bird’s feet off).  I was concentrating so hard in getting the bird’s eye in sharp focus (which is what makes a good bird shot), I completely missed the fact that the feet were not in the frame.