Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman
The maned goose is also known as Australian wood duck or maned duck. It is a species found throughout much of Australia and the only living species in the genus Chenonetta. Traditionally placed in the subfamily Anatinae (dabbling ducks), it might actually belong to the subfamily Tadorninae (shelducks); the ringed teal (Callonetta leucophrys) may be its closest living relative.
This 45–51 cm duck looks like a small goose, and feeds mostly by grazing in flocks.
The male is grey with a dark brown head and mottled breast. The female has white stripes above and below the eye and mottled underparts. Both sexes have grey wings with black primaries and a white speculum. Juveniles are similar to adult females, but lighter and with a more streaky breast.
The Australian wood duck is widespread in Australia, including Tasmania. The Australian wood duck is found in grasslands, open woodlands, wetlands, flooded pastures and along the coast in inlets and bays. It is also common on farmland with dams, as well as around rice fields, sewage ponds and in urban parks. It will often be found around deeper lakes that may be unsuitable for other waterbirds' foraging, as it prefers to forage on land.
They eat grasses, clover and other herbs, and occasionally, insects. It is rarely seen on open water, preferring to forage by dabbling in shallow water, or in grasslands and crops.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be fluctuating, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (IUCN 2012).
Maned Wood Ducks have been kept and bred in captivity for many years and are quite commonly seen in aviaries. The breeding season begins in the Northern Hemisphere in mid April and may last until June. They prefer to use cavities, or nest boxes, but will nest in thick ground cover. Females lay a clutch of eight to elven creamy-white eggs which are incubated for about 28 days. They make good parents if allowed to rear their own young.
This species was probably named a goose for its more terrestrial behavior. They love to graze on land and although they are great swimmers, they are seldom seen in water. I have rarely seen the birds we have enter their pools!
Maned Geese are not aggressive towards other smaller species and mix well. Although shy in the wild, this species can become very tame in captivity and are always curious to what the keeper is up to! Provide lots of grazing areas in the aviary. During the winter, adequate protection must be given to protect the birds from the elements.
Above: adult male Maned goose
Above: adult male Maned goose
Above: adult pair, male left, female right
Above: Maned gosling, several days old
Above: Maned goslings, several days old
Above: Maned gosling with its foster parent, several days old