Can’t take a duck to water…

The gentleman who set me the challenge of ten facts about ten ducks recently returned from down under, so it seemed apt to write about a duck found only in Australia.

Male Australian Wood Duck

Male Australian Wood Duck

This brings me to the Australian Wood Duck: and here it is.  A pretty thing, I think.

It is widespread throughout the continent, is abundant and lays up to twelve eggs in a nest.  The male is pictured on the left, and the female is very similar but has white stripes above and below the eye.  It is currently placed in the order Anatinae, along with many other species of dabbling duck, those which do not dive for food.  However, the last duck I wrote about was the shelduck, and there appears to be some debate among anseriformologists (that word again!) as to whether the Australian Wood Duck should belong in that subfamily.

What is interesting about this duck, given that it’s classified along with other dabblers, is that apparently it is predominantly land based.  It rarely swims, and when it does, doesn’t do it particularly well.  Instead it walks and runs easily.  Anyone who has ever seen a duck walk knows this is quite odd…and funny.

So, from a flightless to duck, to a swim-less duck.  I wonder what the next –less will be.

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