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2

Blue-billed Duck

(Oxyura australis)
Alternate name(s): "Spiny-tailed Duck", "Diving Duck*", "Stiff-tailed Duck", "Little Musk Duck"
Aboriginal name(s): "boodo" (SW WA)

Size: 36-44 cm
Weight: 0.6-1.2 kg

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Blue-billed Duck at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of a male Blue-billed Duck; note the characteristic blue bill
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Near-frontal view of a male Blue-billed Duck
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Lateral view of a male Blue-billed Duck
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Lateral view of a male Blue-billed Duck
[Old Quipolly Dam, Quirindi, NSW, April 2012]

Near-dorsal view of a male Blue-billed Duck (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Herdsman Lake, Perth, WA, January 2015]

Male Blue-billed Duck preening

Male Blue-billed Duck resting on a pond

Here the male Blue-billed Duck is posing for his mate
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

FEMALE

Near-frontal view of a female Blue-billed Duck; note how the dark plumage looks more speckled than barred compared to the immature birds shown below
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Near-frontal view of a female Blue-billed Duck with its head turned
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, December 2010]

Lateral view of a female Blue-billed Duck
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Lateral view of a female Blue-billed Duck
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, December 2010]

Female Blue-billed Duck seen preening...
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, December 2010]

... and here scratching its head, exposing one of its black, webbed feet
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, December 2010]

Female Blue-billed Duck resting on a pond

Here a female Blue-billed Duck is seen following a male
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Near-lateral view of a Blue-billed Duck; the prominent barring and pinkish gape suggest that this may be an immature bird
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Lateral view of a Blue-billed Duck; the prominent barring suggests that this may be an immature bird
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Immature(?) Blue-billed Duck flapping its wings
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Behaviour

A male was observed by us "patrolling" a stretch of reeds, paddling both ways, either on open water or in or behind the reeds, as if to protect its territory. The male also repeatedly bobbed its head and tried to impress a female seen by us. If indeed territorial behaviour, Blue-billed Ducks may have been breeding at Narrabri Lake in the breeding season of 2010/11.

Male Blue-billed Duck displaying its tail for a female
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, July 2016]

Male Blue-billed Duck, right, trying to impress a female, left - first he made a big splash and then dashed across the lake, to the left, at top speed - here he is seen "revving up"
[Old Quipolly Dam, near Quirindi, NSW, July 2016]

Food, Diet

Unlike other geese, ducks and swans, Blue-billed Ducks are not vegetarian. Apart from underwater plants, they also feed on aquatic invertebrates.

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

blubill_20161208_2.mp3 (NW NSW) Squabbling (with wing beats) © MD

We have also recorded the wing beats of a Blue-billed Duck.

blubill_20161208.mp3 (NW NSW) Male display © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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