Anas superciliosa Click to enlarge image
Pacific Black Duck Pearth, Western Australia Feb 1984 7.17 Image: Dick Whitford
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    superciliosa
    Genus
    Anas
    Family
    Anatidae
    Order
    Anseriformes
    Class
    Aves
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    50 - 60 cm long

The Pacific Black Duck is one of the most versatile of the Australian ducks. It frequents all types of water, from isolated forest pools to tidal mudflats, and is found in all but the most arid regions of Australia.

Habitat

Freshwater, intertidal

Distribution

Throughout Australia



Feeding and diet

This duck is mainly vegetarian, feeding on seeds of aquatic plants. This diet is supplemented with small crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic insects. Food is obtained by 'dabbling', where the bird plunges its head and neck underwater and upends, raising its rear end vertically out of the water. Occasionally, food is sought on land in damp grassy areas.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The Pacific Black Duck is closely related to the Mallard, A. platyrhynchos, introduced into Australia from the Northern Hemisphere. The two species are very similar in habits and occupy the same niche in the two regions. The two species will interbreed in situations where Mallards have been released.


Anas superciliosa
Pacific Black Duck, Anas superciliosa, eggs in old Little Raven's nest. Image: P Klapste
© Australian Museum