Australian Wood Duck
Medium-sized duck (44-55cm) with a wingspan to 80cm. Has a long neck and short, dark bill. Male has a chocolate-brown head and neck with a short dark mane. Body and wings are mainly pale grey. Breast is speckled brown. Undertail and belly are black. Black wing-tips are distinctive in flight. Female is mottled-brown, white under-tail and belly, and lacks a mane. Also has a white line above and below the eye.
Nests in a tree hollow generally September to November, and usually after heavy rain. The nest is lined with down. Lays 8-12 eggs. Female incubates, other nesting activities shared by the male.
Typically seen in pairs or small groups, gathering into large flocks after breeding. More often found on the ground, also perches in trees. Camps quietly by day around dams or other freshwater courses including ditches. Departs late afternoon for feeding grounds, which may be some distance away returning at dawn. Makes a distinctive drawn-out nasal “gnow” rising at the end.
Seeds and shoots of green grass and herbage, such as ryegrass, couch, clovers, sedges, smartweed and rice. Feeding grounds include golf courses, grasslands or green pastures.