May 15, 2016 – Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus)

Found throughout much of Australia, these ducks are usually seen in shallow temporary bodies of water, though large flocks sometimes gather in open wetlands. They use the grooves in their large bills to filter microscopic animals and plants from the water. Pairs sometimes swim in circles, head to tail, driving their tiny prey into a spinning column. Breeding at any time of the year, depending on flooding, they nest in hollows or stumps, lining them with down, or take over the nests of other birds. Pairs are monogamous and probably stay together for life. While only females incubate the eggs, both parents brood the ducklings. Their chirping and trilling calls are unusual among duck species.