With their short beak and nasally ‘aawk’ call, Wood ducks are sometimes refered to as ‘Maned Geese’. Despite appearing regularly near farm dams, they rarely swim, just dabbling near the water’s edge, mostly feeding on grass.
Unlike other ducks, they sometimes perch in trees and on house roofs. They nest in tree cavities, laying up to 11 cream-white eggs. The female incubates these while the male stands guard. Once the ducklings are ready to leave the nest, the female flies to the ground and the fluffy ducklings leap down and land safely from any height.
Illustration: Mark Trinham.