Backyard Buddies
Wood Duck

Photo: Rosie Nicolai

Wood Duck

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Wood Ducks are very distinctive birds and easy to recognise, as no other duck looks like them.

The males rarely make much noise but listen out for the female Wood Duck making a long, loud 'gnow' sound.

The Wood Duck is sometimes called the Maned Goose as they look more like miniature geese than ducks.

The Wood Duck is one of the few Australian native animals that has benefitted from European settlement. With the creation of dams and fields, the Wood Duck has a big supply of food and water right across Australia. However the more land is cleared, the less suitable nest sites there are for Wood Ducks.

Wood Ducks are very family-orientated buddies who are constantly looking out for each other and making sure safety comes first.

Mum and dad will form long-lasting bonds and stay together all year, even when their babies have grown up and left. While mum is in the nest high up in a tree hollow, incubating the eggs, dad will be on the ground bravely defending the nest against any dangers or threats. When the 9 to 11 chicks are ready to leave the nest, mum and dad call to their babies from down on the ground, encouraging them to take a big leap of faith.

Once everyone is down on the ground safely, mum and dad will be at either end of the family group, gently coaxing everyone to safe locations and watching for any dangers lurking around the corner.

You can make your neighbourhood friendlier for Wood Ducks

While Wood Duck populations are very stable, they have had a lot of their nesting spots removed due to farming and urbanisation. So why not help this buddy out by placing a nest box in your garden?

A Wood Duck nest needs to be high enough off the ground so that the predators can’t get to it easily. It may take time for Wood Ducks to find the nest box but don’t give up.

Simple things that you do can make a huge difference to Australia’s animals. That’s why the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is running Backyard Buddies – to give you tips to help.

What is a backyard buddy?

Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built-up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The Wood Duck is a backyard buddy.

Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them, like the Wood Duck, and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes.

So you can be a backyard buddy.

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care... and take a few simple steps.

Step one is to find out what Wood Ducks do and do not like.

Wood Ducks love:

Clover – (whether it’s a four-leaved one or not!) and other soft, juicy greens. They will even eat insects from time to time.

Heavy rain – because that’s when all the juiciest  bugs come out. They also prefer to lay their eggs after rain.

Being good parents – mum and dad will stay together to raise and protect their babies.

But they don’t like:

Swimming too much – as they are better suited for waddling on land.

Foxes and cats – who try to attack them and their babies.

When you get too close – because they are very wary creatures who want to protect their young ones. However they don’t mind you watching or taking photos from a safe distance.

Be a Wood Duck buddy

Try to:

Avoid:

Don't be surprised if:

Find out more about your buddies

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