Hardhead

Images ©:
©Bob Winters

Aythya australis


Medium-sized duck, up to 60 cm. Chocolate brown above, with a white undertail. In flight, the wings are white and edged brown, and has an obvious white breast patch. Bill is pale blue on the tip.


Details
Type
Bird
Group
Animals
Duck
Other Common Names
Hardhead Duck, Brownhead, White-eyed Duck
Biology

Breeding season: variable, usually ater rain. Clutch size 9-13. They breed in low, thick vegetation, in or near the water, along rivers and channels, and around billabongs and dams. The nest is a trampled platform of reeds, sticks and vegetation, with some down lining, which is built by the female. Females incubate the eggs alone.

Distinctive Markings

Males have a distinct white eye. Females have brown eyes.

Taxonomy
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Anseriformes
Family
Anatidae
Species
australis

Hardheads sit low in the water and are diving ducks. When flying their wings make a distinctive whirring sound.


Interesting Facts
Diet

Omnivore. Feeds on aquatic plants and animals, particularly mussels and freshwater shellfish.

Habitat

Found in freshwater swamps, wetlands and occasionally in sheltered estuaries. Prefers deep, fresh open water and densely vegetated wetlands for breeding.

Native Status
Native to Australia
Audio
Sounds
Usually silent, but males have a soft, wheezy whistle and "whirr". Females have a loud rattling "gaark" call.