Wood Duck

Unusual for waterfowl, the wood duck often perches in trees and nests in tree holes. Strong claws on the tips of its webbed feet help it grip tree bark. The nest is never far from water though, where it typically forages for seeds, fruit and insects while swimming.

Trumpeter Swan

The trumpeter swan was nearly hunted to extinction for it’s skin, feather, meat and eggs in the early 1900’s.  Protection, habitat restoration and reintroduction have allowed the trumpeter swan to make an amazing comeback.  Today the species in no longer considered in danger of extinction.

Spectacled Eider

Like other birds, the spectacled eider swallows pebbles to help it crush and digest food. Unfortunately, lead shotgun pellets also can be swallowed, and lead poisoning is a major reason this large diving duck is threatened. The ban on lead shot is one step towards saving the spectacled eider.


The smew, or white merganser, is adapted for chasing and catching fast-swimming fish. Slender and streamlined, the smew makes shallow dives in pursuit of prey. Tooth-like serrations on its bill are made for grasping a slippery, struggling fish.

Ruddy Shelduck

As is common with most ducks, the male ruddy shelduck is brighter and more decorated, developing a black collar during the breeding season, than the female in order to attract a mate. The pair nests in a tree hollow, among stone piles, or in an abandoned burrow.

Ruddy Duck

The ruddy duck is a freshwater diver that nests in tall weeds and grasses near the water. A flattened bill helps it strain muddy lake bottoms for seeds and insect larvae. The male displays to defend his nesting territory by holding up its long, stiff tail and drumming its beak against its chest to create bubbles.

Magpie Goose

The magpie goose is unusual among waterfowl. Unlike true geese that have webbed feet, the magpie goose has feet that are only partially webbed with long, clawed toes. It is also the only water bird that often forms a mating trio, one male with two females.

Harlequin Duck

The harlequin duck is named for the male’s clown-like plumage during the breeding season. Wintering in choppy coastal waters and breeding in rapid inland rivers, the harlequin duck is a master at navigating in turbulent water. It dives for prey, and is able to pry crustaceans free from the rocks with strong nails on the tip of its bill.

Cape Barren Goose

Living in flocks of up to 300 individuals, the Cape Barren goose is highly social. With a bill designed for grazing, the goose has actually benefited from the encroachment of agriculture as it has adapted to feeding on pasture fields.

Chiloe Wigeon

The Chiloe wigeon is a highly social duck that communicates by lifting its chin and whistling. It feeds mainly on land using its short bill to graze, yet will also dabble in the water for aquatic plants and invertebrates. Nesting in tall grasses, both parents help raise young.