A lone widgeon

As a child growing up with an interest in birds, one of the first species to really stick in my mind was the Pink-eared Duck aka ‘Widgeon’ or ‘Whistling Teal’. Their extraordinary bill and beautifully patterned plumage made them an easily recognised and remembered species.

Last evening I sat on the shores of Cairn Curran as the sun descended after a baking day. There were lots of birds around – Australian Pelican, Australian Shelduck, Grey Teal, Straw-necked Ibis, some Hardheads, a Black kite or two, and a single Royal Spoonbill. All were too distant for a decent photograph, but the expedition was redeemed when this lone Pink-eared Duck whirred into view. Clearly it hadn’t spotted me as it rocketed past at head height, less than ten metres away.


Pink-eared Duck, Cairn Curran Reservoir, 10th December 2015.


Take two!


Moments before landing.

2 responses to “A lone widgeon

  1. I had a similar experience when I grew up in the wheatbelt of WA in the early 90’s. One of the first birds to get me hooked on birdwatching when I was about 12 was the Pink-eared Duck with its brilliant plumage and unusual bill. They were residents of our small saline lake and they stood out from all the other waterbirds. My dad called them zebra ducks.
    Thanks for jogging my memory.

  2. Maryanne Anderson

    Magnificent photos of the Pink-eared Duck, Geoff. Thanks so much. They are really stunning ducks!! The pink looks like a texta touchup though!! Its plumage us so beautiful it’s hard to understand why it is called by its name.
    Regards, Maryanne Anderson

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