Smiling wood duck

It’s not every day you see an Australian Wood Duck smiling.


Australian Wood Duck smiling - Kim WormaldAustralian Wood Duck (female) – smiling
1/800, f8.0, ISO 800, focal length 400mm


A few days ago I was watching a group of wood ducks resting on the banks of a local lake, I didn’t want to disturb them so slowly slithered forwards on the damp grass and got the distinct feeling that the duck above thought I looked rather comical.


Australian Wood Duck - Kim WormaldAustralian Wood Duck (female)
1/800, f8.0, ISO 800, focal length 400mm


There were about a dozen ducks in the group, resting along the bank in various poses. The female above looked sweet especially when she ruffled her feathers a little. Female Australian Wood Ducks have lighter faces than the males, with a light coloured band above and below the eye.


Australian Wood Duck - Kim Wormald Australian Wood Duck (male)
1/800, f8.0, ISO 800, focal length 360mm


Male Australian Wood Ducks have dark heads, a mane at the back of their necks and distinctive markings on their wings and underbellies. Wood Ducks are monogamous and work together to raise their families.


Australian Wood Duck - Kim WormaldAustralian Wood Duck (male)
1/800, f8.0, ISO 800, focal length 320mm


I like the little ‘sprig’ of feathers that fluffed up when the Australian Wood Duck above turned its head 180 degrees and snuggled its bill between its wings.

A father wandered along the pathway, with a toddler in a stroller and a young son and daughter skipping beside him. The children began feeding the ducks a little wholegrain bread, which isn’t ideal but after what I’ve seen recently (Season of Shame – Part 2 – Graphic) it was a pleasant scene. Preferable ‘duck food’ includes grains, oats, rice, chopped lettuce, peas, corn and birdseed. When the bread ran out the little boy tossed a pebble towards the birds and his dad chastised him gently, telling him to be careful not to hurt the ducks. After the images I’ve seen of young children with guns and dead ducks, that are captioned ‘Parenting done right’ I had to speak to the dad and tell him how awesome it was to see parenting that really is done right.

No wonder the duck was smiling.

Happy birding, Kim


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14 comments to Smiling wood duck

  • Anne

    Your photos are superb and I really enjoy (and endorse) your commentaries, including the one about your dog re-modelling the furniture 🙂

  • Maybe she was laughing at you pretending to be a snake! LOL I love these images. Everyone shows those flashy males and I’ve not really seen many of the girls. She is lovely!

    • lirralirra

      Our wood ducks look very different to yours, even our males are dowdy in comparison. I certainly felt that she was laughing at me!

  • John Bond

    Hi Kim! Slightly off-topic, but as southern Victoria’s self-appointed representative of the species Philemon–Friarbirds–note that Birdline Victoria Recent Sightings has a solitary Noisy feeding in ironbarks behind Yarra Ranges Anderson St Lilydale offices. Long felt that climate change could well have larger, successful (read; aggro!)honeyeaters crossing the Divide. More to come? Watch this space, I suppose.

    • lirralirra

      That is interesting John! It was good to talk with you during the week and I look forward to hearing more about the friarbirds.

  • Smiling through slightly misty eyes here. In all of the bad news it is lovely to hear that about parents bringing up their children to respect other species. Thank you. And them.
    And I love, love, love the detail of the plumage you caught and gave us.

    • lirralirra

      So true EC, if only all parents did the same thing our natural environment would be a much happier place. It astounds me that anyone can think they are separate from nature. So many of the north American Indian quotes seem to say it all, especially ‘what we do to the web of life we do to ourselves’ (paraphrased as I’m running so late).

  • Carole King

    Lovely photos, Kim.

  • Diane

    Lovely photos. Wood ducks really are pleasant looking birds. They seem to calm me down just watching them.

    • lirralirra

      That’s a beautiful comment Diane, I’d never consciously thought about it but you are absolutely right, they are very calming to watch.

  • Alyssa

    Aw so nice. Wood ducks are beautiful and lovely birds that deserve protection all year round! Gorgeous photos 🙂

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