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This shy little duck spends more time underwater than on-top of it. Catch a glimpse at the Zoo when it surfaces.

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.

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.

Australian Wetlands
Other Name/s
Stiff-tail, Spinetail, Diving-duck
Scientific Name
Oxyura australis
Conservation Status
Least Concern
Body Length
35–44 cm
850 g
26–28 days
Number of Eggs
South-western and south-eastern Australia
Deep freshwater rivers and lakes with dense vegetation
extraMile by Integranet