It's prospecting time in the Perth Hills - and no, I'm not talking about anyone looking for gold! Now the first Makuru rains have arrived, our tree-nesting duck species are on the lookout for a nice hollow in which to begin laying their eggs. This pretty pair of 'Maranganna' (the Noongar word for the Australian Wood Duck, Chenonetta jubata) have in the past week or so spent some time inspecting this 'natural nest box' in Parkerville. While searching for a potential nest site, the pair performs a display which involves one bird perching on the tree hollow's entrance and peering inside, while the other bird gives a repetitive 'na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na...' call. The calling bird then flies to land at the hollow and looks inside, and sometimes the two will change places in their tree as they scope out the site. In the above photo the male duck, who has a distinctive dark-chocolate head, is emerging after checking out what this accommodation has to offer. The below picture shows the female perched on the box, which has successfully allowed Wood Ducks to rear broods for the past 2 years.
You can read about previous nest-prospecting by this species, and some competition with other ducks, at this previous news post.
Hopefully, when the ducks have made their decision soon, we will see a beautiful clutch like this one, covered in soft down and waiting for that special day of ducklings!
|Wood Ducks normally lay quite large clutches - this one has 15 eggs!|