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Ducks and Geese

The Ducks and Geese group includes all members of the ducks, geese and swans plus magpie geese, grebes and the penguins.

The humble goose was the very first bird to be domesticated.

In Australia, many ducks are nomadic and will move around, seeking out temporary pools and lakes which are dependent on localised rainfall. A very interesting fact about ducks is that they have no nerves or blood vessels in their feet; this allows them to swim in very cold waters and still remain comfortable. The two most common ducks in Australia are the Australian Wood Duck and the Pacific Black Duck.

The Wood Duck is a dabbling duck which is a lot like a goose in appearance. They prefer to forage in shallow water at the water edge or on land; feeding on grass, clover and herbs with the occasional invertebrate eaten. They are rarely seen out in large bodies of water unless taking refuge from predators.

The Pacific Black Duck, which is not black at all but a mid brown, is easily identified by the facial stripe and the green speculum and white underwing when in flight. The duck is very common throughout Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea, New Zealand and the western Pacific islands. It is closely related to the Mallard of the northern hemisphere and in fact will interbreed with the introduced Mallard. Pacific Black Ducks feed by up-ending in the water to collect aquatic plant seeds, which forms the main part of its diet. The diet is also supplemented with crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic insects.

There is a myth that the quack of a duck does not echo but this has been disproved by the Mythbusters and also by the University of Salford in the UK.