Musk Duck Video Transcript
Musk Duck are widely distributed in southern and Western Australia as well as in Tasmania. They are protected in all states.
It's pretty easy to recognise a male Musk Duck. There is a large lobe of skin under the bill and its body is a dark grey all over. The bill is short and strongly built. At first glance, the female looks quite different. She hasn't got the large lobe of skin under the bill and is a lot smaller.
The upperwing, back and tail of Musk Duck are dark grey. There are no contrasting pale feathers at all. Only on the breast and underwing is there a little contrast. But as Musk Duck rarely fly, you'll probably never see this.
The male is a large, grey bird. The lobe of skin under the bill contains a powerful musk scent gland. They are very wary birds and float low in the water. You are not likely to see them fly, for they usually dive to escape any disturbance. This male is very alert, floating half-submerged in the water. The female Musk Duck has a similar lobe of skin under the bill, but it is very small and hardly visible.
Musk Duck are of the stiff-tailed family, and the spiny-looking tailfeathers are useful for identifying this bird. The heavy, wedge-shaped bill is also a feature to remember. Females and young also float low in the water, their tails submerged.
Notice the shape of the head. The male could hardly be mistaken for any other waterfowl. The breeding display of the male is noisy and spectacular. Musk Duck are numerous in their deepwater habitats, but as they seldom fly they are not considered game birds. Their very strong taste and smell make them almost inedible.