Other Names: Stiff-tail, Spinetail, Diving-duck
Scientific Name: Oxyura australis
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Length: 35–44 cm
Weight: 850 g
Incubation: 26–28 days
Number of Eggs: 4–6
Distribution: South-western and south-eastern Australia
Habitat: Deep freshwater rivers and lakes with dense vegetation
Description: The male Blue-billed duck has a black head, dark brown body and a brown bill. During the mating season the male’s bill will turn a bright blue, giving the duck its name. The female’s body is a plain brown with a grey-brown bill.
Diet: Blue-billed Ducks are omnivores. They spend a lot of their time diving underwater for food, searching for insect larvae, seeds and leaves.
In the wild: When these ducks are disturbed, instead of flying away, they dive underwater. This is due to their compact body shape; their tail-ends are heavy and give a slow take-off. They are, however, excellent and speedy swimmers.
Threats: Destruction of habitat threatens the Blue-billed Duck, in particular land clearing, cropping, drainage and salinisation of water bodies and burning of riparian vegetation. The Blue-billed Duck is listed as vulnerable in New South Wales.
At Perth Zoo: The Blue-billed Duck can be found in the Australian Wetlands exhibit.
Did You Know? The Blue-billed Duck is rarely seen because they not only spend a lot of time underwater, but also because they are very shy.