Australian Shelducks are quite abundant over non-arid southern Australia. In winter, pairs occupy territories on pasture lands or near shallow water, eating grass, small creatures and algae. They usually nest in tree hollows, but occasionally in rabbit burrows. They lay between 5 and 14 eggs.
Outside the breeding season they congregate in large flocks, sometimes of thousands, often to feed on crop stubbles, and then to moult on favourite lakes. They have various calls, the most distinctive being the male's goose-like honk. Their popular name is still "Mountain Duck", for no apparent reason!
Size: 56 - 73 cm
Photo and Illustration: Mark Trinham