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Photo Information
Copyright: Colin McQueen (McQueenca) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 131 W: 11 N: 226] (1387)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-12-11
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 7D
Exposure: f/4, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-01-13 13:55
Viewed: 1967
Points: 24
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Photo Note
This photo was taken in a public park in Redcliffe Queensland on a sunny day. A monopod was used. A 300mm lens c/w 1.4 converter was used. The photo has been cropped.

Aythya australis

The Hardhead possesses one of the strangest names among Australian birds. It was formerly known as the ‘White-eyed Duck’, but this feature is present only on drakes, with females having dark eyes. Nevertheless, this discrepancy has never been an impediment to naming birds in the past — female Blackbirds are never black, for instance. The name ‘Hardhead’ has nothing to do with the density of the duck’s cranium, but stems from early taxidermists who found that the head was the most difficult part of the duck to process.


The Hardhead is a medium-sized duck which appears mainly chocolate brown when swimming, with a white undertail. In flight, the underwings are white, edged with brown. A white breast patch is obvious in flight and when standing in the shallows. The bill is pale blue on the tip. Males have a distinct white eye, while the eye is brown in females. When flying, the wings make a distinctive whirring sound. Hardheads sit low on the water and are diving ducks. This species is also known as the White-eyed Duck, Barwing or Brownhead.

Similar Species

The chestnut brown colour and white eye is distinctive. The female is somewhat similar to the female Blue-billed Duck, Oxyura australis, but the Hardhead's white undertail is diagnostic and the stiff fanned tail of the Blue-billed Duck is obvious if it is raised.


The Hardhead is endemic to (only found in) Australia, though it is occasionally seen in New Guinea and other islands.


Hardheads are found in freshwater swamps and wetlands and occasionally in sheltered estuaries. They are rarely seen on land and tend to roost on low branches and stumps near the water. They prefer deep, fresh open water and densely vegetated wetlands for breeding.


Hardheads dive for their food, leaping forward and diving smoothly under the water. They eat aquatic plants and animals, particularly mussels and freshwater shellfish.


Hardheads breed in low, thick vegetation, in or near the water, along rivers and channels and around billabongs and dams. The nest is a trampled platform of reeds, sticks and vegetation, with some down lining. The nest is built by the female, and is often added to with what she can reach from the nest. She incubates the eggs alone.

Source www.birdlife.org.au/

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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-01-13 13:56]

Hi Colin,beautiful capture in the best light,not easy to have details so good on a dark plumage like this,magnificent specie and perfect quality,i like it!Have a nice week and thanks,Luciano

Hello Colin,
The picture is high quality with perfect plumage colour in a difficult light condition.
perfect detail and good composition. very nice looking duck (specie Hardheads).
best wishes,

Hi Colin,
interesting bird in water environment. I like these colours and point of view. A lot of details because of very good sharpness.
Have a nice week,

Ciao Colin, great capture of lovely duck, fascinating reflections, fine details, splendid sharpness and wonderful natural colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

simple and so beautiful, TFS Ori

Hello Colin,
Nice capture with great clarity and details,
TFS and my regards,

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-01-14 4:48]

Hello Colin,
Excellent photo of this Hardhead in great sharpness, fine details and beautiful colours. Nice pose with eye contact.

較好奇的是 它的眼球怎會是白色
更奇的是嘴巴兩種顏色 前面也是色

hello Colin
Lovely ducky
great details with very good sharpness and beautiful colours
i like this shot
thanks greeting lou

Hi Colin,
Excellent sharpness / detail are obvious combined with beautiful eye and plumage detail. The contrast between the colour of the duck and the water is spectacular. very nice low POV.
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2013-01-14 15:21]

Merhaba Colin,
Doğal renkleri ve nefis kompozisyonuyla çok başarılı bir fotoğraf,
Tebrik ederim, saygılarımla..

Hello Colin

Great close-up shot of this Australian species of duck,
fine POV & DOF, beautiful reflection on the water
specially the repetition of the eye, great focus,
sharpness, and details, TFS


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