Re: Mystery Duck @ Werribee

To: "" <>
Subject: Re: Mystery Duck @ Werribee
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2010 09:17:52 +1100
Hi Bob,
You didn't say whether your duck was small or large, but my bet would be on an Australian Shelduck with a broken wing. I downloaded the pic and adjusted the shadow/highlights which reveals a little more. As you say, the image shows the bird facing away from the observer. It's tail is in the air and shows as all black with dark undertail coverts. The visible white is clearly feathers given three or four of them have been raised by the wind. Behind the white feathers you can see the dark primary tips at a very odd angle (i.e. the leading edge of the primaries is running across the back of the neck). I suggest the the wing has been broken somewhere in the inner wing close to the body and the broken wing has then twisted over the birds back to face the 'wrong' way. The tertials which are rufous in Australian Shelduck remain on the 'unbroken' portion of the innerwing and are now visible across the back and flank.

It isn't a Blue-billed Duck as the tail is the wrong shape and that species nowhere shows extensive white. It isn't a Northern Shoveler for, amongst other things, the outer tail would be pale. Chestnut Teal could show similar colouration but if my interpretation of the image is correct then the distribution of colour is wrong for that species.


Rohan Clarke

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Subject:  Mystery Duck @ Werribee
From:  "Bob Cook"<>
Date:  Mon, 20 Dec 2010 18:33:31 +1100

After spending some time at Werribee WTP today looking at Ruff and looking
for Stilt Sandpiper, we went across to Lake Borrie and saw this unusual
duck.  This duck appeared to be in distress, mostly floating motionless,
occasionally making a slight "thrashing" movement. Could only get this rear
shot, but am mystified what it is with the amount of white around the
shoulder and neck. Northern Shoveller appears a possibility!? Any expert

Bob Cook


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