Last week during a camping trip to Kununurra we encountered a Radjah Shelduck family in one of the irrigation channels around town. We had added Radjah Shelduck to our 2019 list on August 26th at the Derby Poo Ponds. There had only been one solitary Radjah Shelduck on that occasion. The Radjah Shelduck family last week were swimming in the irrigation channel right against the road and so we could pull over and admire them. This would have to be one of the few families of Radjah Shelducks we have ever observed and definitely the smallest ducklings.

A stand out feature of the Radjah Shelduck ducklings is the brown on their heads and down the back of their necks. This colouration is not present in the adults, but is excellent camouflage for the ducklings.

We remained in our vehicle observing the Radjah Shelduck family as they swam around in the irrigation channel. The adults kept close to the ducklings and moved them a little way up the channel. No doubt they were not used to vehicles stopping to admire them!

Radjah Shelduck family

The Radjah Shelduck will often nest in a tree hollow close to water and lay between six and twelve eggs. All ducklings are beautiful to observe, but I think you would agree that these are particularly nicely patterned!

If you are ever in Kununurra in October then keep an eye out for Radjah Shelduck families!

Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!