Australian Wood Duck

Chenonetta jubata

Wood Ducks are abundant around Canberra, being particularly common near gardens next to reserves, paddocks and farm dams. They eat grass and aquatic plants and nest in tree hollows of mature eucalypts. They will readily breed around any site with suitable nesting hollows, open grassed areas and water nearby.

Wood Ducks are often recorded flying over the suburbs at night, the females (on the left above)calling with an unmistakable nasal wheeze. Records show increased numbers across the range of suburbs, particularly since 1992-93, a drought year, when numbers were five times previous levels.

Wood Ducks may inspect tree hollows from July, sit on eggs to the end of December, and have dependent young from late September until early January. Not long after the eggs hatch the young jump from the nest (often from a considerable height) and are escorted by their parents to water and feeding areas. Breeding records show a marked increase since 1985 with 1998 being a peak year. R=53. BR=23.