Friday, January 18, 2008
SAVE THE BLUE BILLED DUCK
We are all aware of the plight of the blue-bill particularly here on the east-coast of Australia, but recently things have become a little more dire. My friend Ian at NPWS has been working in the ongoing research into the blue-bill habitats around the Murray basin and in findings that are yet to be published he has told me that nothing is improving for the blue-bills...
Drought, forest fires, pesticide use and hunting is still threatening the species so please familiarise yourselves with the blue-bills so that we may still see them in the metropolitan beaches in summer as we once did in abundance. The sight of the males "mating time" blue bill is worth every effort in saving the species. Again look at
Blue-billed Duck - profile
The Blue-billed Duck is one of only two Australian species of stiff-tailed ducks - diving ducks with spine-like tail-feathers. It is a small and compact duck, with a length of 40 cm. The male's head and neck are glossy black, and the back and wings are a rich, chestnut to dark-brown. During the summer breeding season the male's bill turns bright blue. The female is brownish-black above, with narrow bands of light brown and mottled light brown and black below. The female's bill is dark grey-green. In the non-breeding season the male resembles a dark female. The tail is usually held flat on the water, although during courtship, or when alarmed, it is held fully erect.
The Blue-billed Duck is endemic to south-eastern and south-western Australia. It is widespread in NSW, but most common in the southern Murray-Darling Basin area. Birds disperse during the breeding season to deep swamps up to 300 km away. It is generally only during summer or in drier years that they are seen in coastal areas.