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Australian Wood Duck

Australian Wood Duck feeding on the surface of a pond with floating pond weed and green plants in background
A pair of Australian Wood Ducks standing in shallow water at the edge of a river

Male (left); Female (right)

Scientific Name: Chenonetta jubata

Size: 42 to 60 cm

What does it look like?

The Australian Wood Duck is identified by its brown head, grey and black back and wings, and speckled underparts. The male is larger and has a black mane, while the female has two pale lines passing through the eye. The bill is short and blackish. The call of the female is a drawn-out nasal ‘gnew’; that of the male is shorter and higher pitched.

Where is it found?

Occurs throughout the eastern states and territories, extending westward to eastern Northern Territory and South Australia. Also found in the west of Western Australia.

What are its habitats & habits?

This species is a common sight in well-watered wooded swamps, although it seldom takes to the water, except for bathing or mating. It is one of the ‘perching’ ducks, and is most often observed grazing on a river bank or perched in a tree.

Interesting facts

The Australian Wood Duck is also called the Maned Duck or Maned Goose. The name ‘Maned’ is derived from the short black plumes on the rear of the male’s head, and the name of ‘goose’ refers to the upright stance of a bird as it walks.

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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