Australian Wood Duck
42 to 60cm in height. Wing span to 80cm. Brown eye. Brown neck and head with short
brown bill. Black "mane" down back of neck from elongated feathers.
Lower back and tail are black. Upper wing grey with dusky coloured primary feathers.
Under wing is white. Breast white mottled with brown or black. Webbed feet are
olive-brown to black.
The Australian Wood Duck is a "perching" duck and is more suited to walking than it is to swimming. It is more often seen grazing, like a goose, than swimming. The duck can be found throughout much of mainland Australia and Tasmania. It is absent from the top end of Queensland and the Northern Territory and in the dry interior of Western Australia and South Australia. Habitat for the Wood Duck includes grassland, pastures, open woodlands, town parks and generally anywhere where there is water. It is a sedentary bird and often congregates in large groups for short periods before dispersing into permanent pairs - Australian Wood Ducks mate for life. Breeding season in southern Australia is around September to November; and January to March in the north. Those in semi-arid regions can breed any time of the year, after good rain. The nest is made high in a tree hollows and is lined with down, usually quite thick to hide the eggs. Between 8 and 14 eggs can be laid and are incubated by both parents for around 28 days. Male often stands guard when the female is incubating. Soon after the downy young jump from the nest and follow their parents to the safety of water. Young fledge in around 50 days.