Swans, Geese and Ducks

These short-legged waterbirds are characterised by web feet and feed by either diving, dabbling and grazing. Swans and geese are generally seen flying over The Cape, and to date have not been commonly seen landing and grazing within The Cape boundaries.

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)

A large, graceful bird with black plumage and white wing tips. It is common around the Bass Coast Shire, but less common around the Cape Paterson area. Birds occasionally fly over The Cape in small flocks and singularly. An adult pair and five cygnets were observed inhabiting the wetland on Wilson’s Rd adjacent to the western boundary of The Cape in Spring 2019.

Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) VULNERABLE

A large grey goose with a distinctive greenish yellow cere (membrane) at the base of its bill. A reasonable sized population of Cape Barren Geese reside on nearby Phillip Island, but they are not common elsewhere along the Bass Coast and generally live on islands in Bass Strait. They move to the mainland in the non-breeding season to feed on pastures and in shallow wetlands. A pair were observed within The Cape in the summers of 2018/19 and 2019/20 and more recently a flyover of a five-bird skein in August 2020. They are listed as a vulnerable species.

Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata)

A wary duck with grey and brown plumage that alternates between the wetlands of the Bunurong Coastal Reserve and the Top Dam in the central creek line. They will generally take off in flight when approached. Usually seen in small flocks. These ducks spend more time on the ground on the edge of wetlands than the other species which tend to stay on the water surface. They are less commonly seen than the other duck species in The Cape.

Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tardornoides)

A beautiful, large duck that has a distinctive orange/brown chest and white neck collar against a darkish body. An uncommon Cape visitor, it has been seen in the adjacent wetlands on Wilson’s Rd on The Cape’s south-western boundary and interestingly on the rocky outcrops of the point at F Break.

Australasian Shoveler (Anas rhynchotis) NEAR THREATENED

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A single bird was seen five times in a week in the third week of October 2020 alternating between the ‘bog’ at the southern end of the central creek line and the central wetland complex. Distinguished by powder blue colourings on upper wings and long neck/bill in flight.

Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)

A smallish waterbird usually found near coastal habitat. Chestnut Teals are a common resident using The Cape wetlands regularly. Breeding pairs have established nests within the wetlands and surrounding marshes. The male has a beautiful glossy green head when breeding. The female has a darker, rustier brownish plumage. The red eye stands out as a distinctive feature. Chestnut Teals feed by dabbling and upending their body into the water headfirst. A small family group including two immature birds were observed on the main wetland in Spring 2019.

Grey Teal (Anas gracilis)

The Grey Teal is slightly smaller than the Chestnut Teal and looks very similar to the female Chestnut Teal but has lighter brown plumage and a more whitish neck. It also has a distinctive red eye. Grey Teals are quite at home in The Cape wetlands and surrounding marshes where breeding pairs have been observed. Seven ducklings were sighted on the central wetland complex in Sep 2020.

Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa)

A large, brown duck with yellow and black stripes on its head. A very wary duck which is quick to flight when disturbed. It is common on The Cape wetlands and surrounding marshy/swamp areas and is also at home among the restored creek line and pondages. A breeding pair with nine ducklings were observed in Spring 2019 in the central wetland complex. There have been sightings of this species amongst the grasses in the housing area where it may possibly nest. It is often seen flying in pairs or small numbers around The Cape open spaces.

Nature Observations around The Cape

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