The Australian wood duck, maned duck or maned goose (Chenonetta jubata) is a dabbling duck found throughout much of Australia. It is the only living species in the genus Chenonetta. Traditionally placed in the subfamily Anatinae (dabbling ducks), it might belong to the subfamily Tadorninae (shelducks); the ringed teal may be its closest living relative.
This 45–51 cm duck looks like a small goose, and feeds mostly by grazing in flocks. The male is grey with a dark brown head and mottled breast. The female has white stripes above and below the eye and mottled underparts. Both sexes have grey wings with black primaries and a white speculum. Juveniles are similar to adult females, but lighter and with a more streaky breast.
The Australian wood duck is widespread in Australia, including Tasmania. It is found in grasslands, open woodlands, wetlands, flooded pastures and along the coast in inlets and bays. It is also common on farmland with dams, as well as around rice fields, sewage ponds and in urban parks. It will often be found around deeper lakes that may be unsuitable for other waterbirds' foraging, as it prefers to forage on land.
The Australian wood duck eats grasses, grains, clover and other herbs, and occasionally, insects. It is rarely seen on open water, preferring to forage by dabbling in shallow water, or in grasslands and crops. They nest in cavities in trees or in nest-boxes above or near water. Nests are made with a pile of down. It lays 9–11 cream-white eggs, similar to the Mandarin ducks.
The female incubates them while the male stands guard.Once the ducklings are ready to leave the nest, the female flies to the ground and the duckling will leap to the ground and follow their parents. Like Mandarin drakes, the males also secure their ducklings closely along with the females.
Australian wood duck is widespread in its range. This species has benefited from agriculture developments, with creation of dams and pools. It is classified as a game bird, and killed by licensed hunters. This species is not threatened, and numbers are stable.
This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.