Freckled Duck continued

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Freckled Duck continued
From: jenny spry <>
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2011 10:24:38 +1100
Hi all,

While we were watching the Freckled Ducks at Lake Lorne on Sunday one male
in breeding colour put on a very spectacular display. I have looked in
HANZAB and very little mention, if any, is made of what we saw.

The bird came out of a roost under willows on an island in the lake and swam
for some 30 metres to a part submerged tree trunk where ducks were hauling
out to preen in the sun. For most of the 30 metres the male was rolling its
body and as each wing went under water it was raised violently so as to throw
a curtain of water around it and skywards for some 2 metres. I have put a
photo on the BOCA photo gallery showing how the bird was creating this spray
of water.

It encountered some PBD and Chestnut Teal along the way and forced one bird
to flee from its path. It seemed that the Freck was possibly performing some
sort of territorial display, informing all and sundry that this area
belonged to him. Maybe, however, it was just having a very, very vigorous
bath, but it did seem a bit extreme for that because the session went on for
30 metres and 2 + minutes.

In its description of the Freckled Duck HANZAB has a heading called “Comfort
Movements”. Under the heading there is no discussion of any of the movements
(except for wing “shuffling” to ventilate feathers), just a list of
movements in bold text. One of movements is listed as “Wing-thrashing”. It
is possible that this is what the bird was doing, and that it bird was
getting some form of “comfort” from this extended act of “Wing-thrashing”
but it did go on for a long time and was performed as the bird moved forward
in the water. It did not appear that it was just “settling its feathers into
a more comfortable position”.

It is possible that this male was the dominant bird in the area because he
later made a threat display toward a passing Freckled Duck (a non-coloured
male or female) that HANZAB describes as “indicating dominance toward a
subordinate bird of either sex”. There is a photo of this display on the
BOCA site.

I am wondering if anyone has seen a similar display from a Freckled Duck or
can give me information on what the bird was doing.



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