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2

Hardhead

(Aythya australis)
Alternate name(s): "White-eyed Duck", "Brownhead", "Coppertop", "Punkari"
Aboriginal name(s): "erooto" (WA); "bubbuloo"
Size: 45-60 cm
Weight: 850 g (average)

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 Hardhead at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

MALE

Close-up frontal view of a male Hardhead (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Toowoomba, QLD, October 2011]

Close-up lateral view of a male Hardhead (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Toowoomba, QLD, October 2011]

Close-up lateral view of a male Hardhead
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Lateral view of a male Hardhead
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Near-dorsal view of a male Hardhead; note the peculiar colour of its bill
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Dorsal view of a male Hardhead that has just re-surfaced (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Whittaker's Lagoon, near Moree, NSW, June 2012]

This male Hardhead has just surfaced from a dive
[Whittaker's Lagoon, near Moree, NSW, June 2012]

Male Hardhead flapping its wings and in the process displaying its underwings
[Burren Junction Bore Bath, Burren Junction, NSW, February 2017]

Male Hardhead displaying its white underwing feathers and undertail coverts; it is seen here together with a Pacific Black Duck
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, August 2010]

Two male Hardheads in flight, seen from underneath
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

Lateral view of a male Hardhead in flight
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Hardhead; its plumage is still wet from a dive
[Old Quipolly Dam, Quirindi, NSW, April 2012]

Close-up lateral view of a female Hardhead (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Toowoomba, QLD, October 2011]

Close-up lateral view of a female Hardhead
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Lateral view of a female Hardhead with its head turned towards the camera
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Lateral view of a female Hardhead
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Lateral view of a pair of Hardheads - female in front, male behind
[Old Quipolly Dam, Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

This female Hardhead is still ruffled from its last dive
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, April 2011]

Here one can see the slightly crooked shape of the bill
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

Lateral view of a female Hardhead in flight (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

Lateral view of a pair of Hardheads
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, October 2010]

In this shot one can see a male Hardhead feeding while keeping a watchful eye on his mate
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Dorsal view of a pair of Hardheads
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, October 2010]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Here a youngster Hardhead that was seen on its own
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Female Hardhead with a clutch of about 10 chicks
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

One of the Hardhead chicks apparently tried to climb onto mum's back
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2010]

Female Hardhead with her ducklings
[Old Quipolly Dam, Quirindi, NSW, December 2016]

Family of Hardheads retreating into reeds
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, January 2012]

Direct comparison between a Pacific Black Duck, right, and a male Hardhead, left
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, July 2014]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Nomadic/dispersive Elementary unit: Pair

Hardheads are known to be diving ducks and have been observed by us to do so. They can stay under water for a considerable time (30 seconds and more) and over considerable distances (100 m or more).

Birds that are preyed upon by raptors have wide-angle vision, i.e. their eyes are on the sides of their heads. When checking their surroundings, they typically look at things sideways, as shown in the photos below.

Hardhead checking its surroundings; at the time an immature White-bellied Sea-Eagle was circling above
[Old Quipolly Dam, Qurindi, NSW, April 2012]

Food, Diet

Like all other geese, ducks and swans, Hardheads are vegetarian. They dive to feed on underwater plants.

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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