Hardhead Video Transcript
The Hardhead is found over most of eastern Australia, the south and the south-west. The Hardhead is a fairly dark bird; deep chocolate brown with a light coloured bill. The male has a white eye. The female's eye is brown but the colour and wing patterns of both males and females are very similar.
Hardhead have a large white band across the belly, but even more obvious eye-popping markings. The underwing is almost completely white. And the upperwing has a long white bar long the trailing edge. In flight, these wing markings show very clearly.
Here you can see the white bar on the upperwing. And here the white underwing as well. Even in poor light, the white markings on the wings and across the belly are very easy to see.
The Hardhead is a medium-sized bird; dark brown with white feathers under the tail. Sometimes the tail is held is very low in the water. Only the male has the white eye. At a distance, the white-tipped bill and the white under tail feathers tell it apart from all other birds on the water. In the air, the dark head, the white underwing and white belly are features to look for.
They fly strongly with slender-pointed wings set well back on the body. The upperwing has a white stripe on the trailing edge, so at a distance you get the impression of a dark bird with a long, white wing stripe. No other duck has such a pattern of white on the wings. The pale bill can sometimes be seen a long way off.
They often fly with other waterfowl but are one of the easiest to pick out in a flock of mixed birds: white wing stripe and wings set well back. Apart from its rapid flight, the thing to remember is the white wing stripe. It's the only duck with a pattern like this. The pale underwing and belly are visible in most light conditions.
Hardheads are one of the diving ducks, so they prefer deepwater swamps and lakes. Hardheads are legal game in all states, except Tasmania, where they don't occur.