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Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

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Musk Duck

Musk Duck (Image ID 45667)
Photographed byMichael Hamel-Green on Wed 7th Apr, 2021 and uploaded on Sat 10th Apr, 2021 .
Resolution1800x1179
Viewed85
ID45667
CommentAfter being shown my first Musk Duck by a more experienced birdwatcher friend, I was pleased to discover some for myself, in this case two females. I watched as they lived up to their reputation for lengthy underwater submarining. They dived down and then, after what seemed like an eternity, finally reappeared, cormorant style, in an entirely different spot. Females lack the males’ under-bill black flaps, and are somewhat smaller, but otherwise are similar, with black bill and dark white-threaded plumage. John Gould, writing in the mid 1880s, remarked upon the Musk Duck’s “singular” appearance, and noted that it depended “for its food and for its preservation from danger upon its powers of diving rather than upon those of flying”. He added: “Although I have many times come suddenly upon this bird I could never force it to take wing, even when I surprised it at one of those small water-holes…instead of attempting to escape by flight it would immediately dive and remain submerged for a great length of time” (Birds of Australia, v.7).
EquipmentNikon Z7ii, Nikon 300mm PF f420, Nikon TC1.4 420mm ISO 1000 1/2000th f8
LocationWerribee Treatment Plant, Werribee, Victoria
Keywordsfemale, adult
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