Mountain Duck Video Transcript
Mountain Duck are found in Western Australia and in the south-east, but it's a rare bird in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
If you know what to look for, it shouldn't be difficult to recognise the birds pitching in here. They're Mountain Duck.
The pattern of the upperwing is a real giveaway. On the leading edge of each wing close to the body is a large white patch, and along the trailing edge there are dull green feathers. Usually only the white patches show.
The underwing also has a large white patch. The black belly contrasts with the orange breast. Mountain Duck have a black head and neck and a white collar. This one is a male. Females are the same except for some white face markings.
In flight, Mountain Duck often appear as large black and white birds. Only in good light can you pick out the orange breast and white collar. Like the Wood Duck we looked at a little earlier, Mountain Duck also show large, white wing patches in flight. But with this bird the patches are on the leading edge of the wings. And there's also a large, white patch below the wing.
Mountain Duck are the largest Australian duck and not likely to be mistaken for anything else. The dark wings and body contrasts sharply with the brilliant white wing patches which could be seen from a long way off.
Females and young birds have a white eye and white face patch, which you can see only when they are close up. The male's head is all dark. In good light, the chestnut fronts and the pale ring around the necks of male birds can be seen some distance away. The green feathers on the rear of the upper wing are difficult to see except in very good light.
Mountain Duck are much larger than all other game birds and they ride well up out of the water. Although Mountain Ducks spend much of their time near water, they often fly a long way to find pasture land and wheat stubble on which they graze.
They sometimes move about in large flocks. The wing beats are slow and often they'll just glide down to the water. In a mixed flock, it's pretty easy to pick out the Mountain Duck. From the front or back it's a little harder, but the white wing patches soon give it away, even in poor light. Sometimes they appear as black and white birds.
The honking calls are also easy to remember. And on long flights they will often form V-formations, or they'll follow each other in long, straggly lines. Although Mountain Duck are slow flyers, they use their wings well, sometimes dropping down quickly from a great height.
These, then, are the points you should remember: large, white wing patches on the leading edge of the upperwing, close to the body. And extensive white areas under the wings. It is a large bird, easily picked out on the water or in a mixed flock. The wing beats are slower than most other ducks and quite often they'll glide a long way down to the water or pasture.