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
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9 thoughts on “AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK (Chenonetta jubata)

    1. The Father’s can be just as fierce, Tanja.
      This was an interesting group as there were 10 ducklings and I went back to the same park/place the next day and there were 4 extra smaller ducklings. Only one set of parents in sight though. So did they have 2 sets of eggs? or were they babysitting 4 tiny ones (as well as their own 10)?
      I never found out.

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      1. That is interesting, Vicki. You might have heard about a female Common Merganser in Minnesota wit dozens of ducklings, begging the question if ducks raise not only their own offspring. There are still so many intriguing mysteries in nature!

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  1. Look at that tiny bit of emerald green in that first photo — it’s beautiful. Of course the babies are delightful — even the teenagers have their charm. It seems that adolescents of every species are a little awkward. It’s all part of the process. And I do love the protectiveness of the mama duck. They know their responsibilities, and they’re going to carry them out.

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    1. Actually that Mama duck was very strict and later…….when one duckling lagged behind…….the Mama went up to it and you could almost ‘hear’ her quacking “Hurry up, hurry up. Catch up to your siblings”. I was kneeling down as close as i could get (back in 2013 – can’t kneel down and get up these days, so best to actually shoot birds from some distance away to give the illusion I’m down on their level).

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    1. Thanks Terry – I’m trying to share an image (or more) out of each bird and flower folder, but I must admit I’m automatically drawn to certain favourites and its hard to share some of the more dull plumaged birds. Next one for example. Now I’ve started the blog afresh, I’m also trying to get a better index in the sidebar.

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