Discover… Pacific Black Ducks
Pacific Black Ducks are a duck species all across Australia. In urban areas, these ducks are quite friendly and will happily cohabitate with people spending their time by the local pond or waterway. They are social animals who prefer to spend their time in pairs or small flocks to keep each other company.
The brown… Black Duck
Pacific Black Ducks have an understated beauty about them. Strangely enough, they are mainly brown in colour despite being known as the “Black Duck’. With a bold black marking – their only black plumage – striped across their face and layers of scalloped feathers from head to toe, while handsome, at first these ducks don’t appear to stand out from the crowd.
But like all Australian ducks, Pacific Black Ducks are truly unique. When you’re out discovering ducks and pause to observe this species, you’ll notice a brilliant, glossy aqua patch that glistens among their brown feathers. This brilliant glow is heightened by an oil produced by a gland at the base of their tale that makes them fully waterproof!
Plants, crayfish and insects… oh my!
The Pacific Black Duck mainly sticks to a vegetarian diet, ‘dabbling’ to nibble on aquatic plants by plunging their heads under water and sticking their body into the air like a flagpole. Their tongues work like small pistons where water is sucked up water filters out the yummy food they discover on each deep dive.
Sometimes they will indulge by feeding on crayfish and insects, but they receive most of their nutrients through the vegetation under water or in damp, grassy areas.
Females make the first move
When the time comes to start family, it’s up to the female ducks to make the first move. Pacific Black Ducks have a special ritual where the females instigate courtship by preening their feathers, bobbing their heads and flapping their wings in a little dance to attract the male duck’s attention.
They are super parents, often laying two broods a year with seven to twelve eggs hidden in nests in tall grasses or rushes. Like the Australian Wood Duck, they will sometimes build nests in hollowed out trees, carefully lining the space with grass and feathers to make it all cozy for their young.
An easy find
Pacific Black Ducks aren’t hard to find. They are in most areas of Australia, except really arid landscapes, and can be found in almost any form of wetland such as ponds, dams, sewage ponds, rivers or channels. You may remember visiting these ducks as a child and will hopefully bring this tradition to your own family as you explore your neighbourhood and start discovering ducks!