Musk Duck behaviour

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Subject: Musk Duck behaviour
From: "Shaun Bagley" <>
Date: Sun, 1 Oct 2006 20:05:07 +1000
Was out at Tidbinbilla wetlands today. For about 20 minutes watched a lone male Musk Duck napping. With tail up and splayed, he turned his head to rest on his back between his wings. Through binos could see that his eyes closed though he was clearly conscious of his surrounds raising his head whenever other waterfowl got noisy.
What interested me was how he stayed roughly in the same spot in the water. Whilst his head was clearly at rest between his wings, the wings appeared to be "flicking" lightly, one more than the other. So as the bird seemed at rest one of the wings in particular flicked up and down as the position in the pond was maintained. My question is whether the more frequent flicking of one wing reflected some kind of movement of the legs thereby keeping the bird circling in the water close to the same spot?
And if this is an accurate reflection of what was going on, is this behaviour instinctive or anatomically created (as in when a bird sinks down to rest it locks its feet around its perch by virtue of the anatomy of its legs)?
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