(15 September 2017) Who says ‘duck’, says ‘water’. But wood ducks will only take to open water when disturbed. They walk easily on land and may be seen perching on logs and in trees, like these two couples in a tree over the pond near the Landcare site at Hartley Road.
The Australian Wood Ducks form monogamous breeding pairs that stay together year round. They nest in tree holes, above or near water, often re-using the same site. Both parents feed young and young birds remain with them up to a month after fledging.
Males (at the right in the picture) have the darker head and a small dark mane, with a speckled brown-grey breast and a black lower belly and undertail. The females have a paler head with two white stripes, above and below the eye, a speckled breast and flanks, with a white lower belly and undertail.
They eat grasses, clover and other herbs, and occasionally, insects.
The Australian wood duck is the only living species in the genus Chenonetta; another duck in this genus, the flightless Chenonetta finschi, lived in New Zealand, till it became extinct around 1870.
A very quiet approach is the main skill if you don’t use a tele lens. In this case I only had my 60mm marcro lens, but at f/5, 1/250 the result is good. The four ducks were first facing the other way, but waiting for a while made them decide to turn around and keep an eye on me. And I on them.