Pacific Black Duck

Yesterday was a good day for ducks.

Actually, I’m not certain that ducks like the rain any better than anyone else.  After the rain they do come out to feed, but when it is bucketing down, as it did for about 24 hours, I’m sure they seek shelter like the rest of us. In any case, today was a good day to take pictures of ducks.

Many people think of Perth as being dry and sunny all the time, and we are very lucky with our outdoorsy climate. Some people are surprised to discover that although we have far fewer rainy days, we get more average annual rainfall in Perth than Melbourne.

To celebrate the wet a mushroom decided to scoot up through the earth in our backyard.

Back to ducks.

The black duck is native to Australia and I thought the Pacific Black Duck was one of the most common water bird around here. However, having done a little googling on the subject it appears that its future may be threatened by a tendency to be more than kissing cousins with the introduced Mallard.

 Sadly this
interbreeding may lead to the extinction of the Pacific Black Duck as
the Mallards and their hybrids propagate.  That’s bad news for everyone as the resulting hybrids may not be as well suited to the boom and bust of the Australian climate.

Telling the hybrids and the real things apart seems to be a bit of a
challenge, so I hope you’ll forgive me if I have misidentified any of
them here.

The black duck It is also very poorly named as you can see.  Unlike this little black duck, our black ducks aren’t black at all, except for that stripe over the eye.

 It strikes me that ducks are also very flexible…

It is difficult for me to know if this quacker is black duck or a hybrid. The speculum feathers looks more blue than green, but that can change depending on the angle and the light.
I don’t consider these ducks to be the brightest birds on the duck pond either.  When they have ducklings they will lead them across busy roads, bringing traffic to a standstill on a good day.

Several times a year ducks breed on the campus of the University of Western Australia, and invariably bring their ducklings down to the Reid Library moat. The facilities management people are very understanding of this and put a little ramp in to allow the ducklings to get in and out of the water without distress.  When they figure it out.

Of course, the ducks are not the only birds that hang out
in the gardens, and many of these fluffy little cuties are snapped up by
kookaburras and crows as a tasty snack.  Sad, but so it goes in the
animal kingdom.

The pictures were taken at Maylands and  Kings Park but they also make themselves at home in other odd places.  I once lived in a block of flats that had a drainage problem in the car park.  For the month or so that you had to wear wellies to get to the car, a pair of these ducks made the temporary pond their home. 

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