Wednesday, 1 November 2006

I won't be writing much on A Snail's Eye View tonight. I got home about half an hour ago, so I'd better get cracking if I'm going to write 1670 words for NaNoWriMo tonight.

I'm off to Castlemaine in central Victoria tomorrow to have lunch with a friend who is a biological illustrator and printmaker. With any luck, I'll catch her at work. 'S great stuff.

In the meantime, here's a duck. We have had a bit of a surfeit of ducks recently, but this one's a little different. This is a male musk duck (Biziura lobata). Unfortunately, you can't see one of his most obvious features—the leathery lobe that hangs down from the underside of his bill like a standard. Although they are ponderous and almost seal-like on land, they are very agile in the water. This one was as hyperactive as a toddler on a sugar high, so I had to take what shots I could.

The musk duck is an Australian endemic. Its closest relatives are Oxyura ducks, such as the Australian blue-billed (O. australis), the American ruddy (O. jamaicensis) and the Eurasian white-headed (O. leucocephala) ducks.

2 comments:

Duncan said...

Thats a different angle! Good one, shows the tail.

Snail said...

They're odd-looking birds, aren't they? I didn't realise how hefty they were until I got up close.

I've got some pics of blue-billed ducks that I'll put up soon for comparison. They look as if they've been bonsai-ed next to the musk duck.