A great egret looks for breakfast at Calamvale Creek


Scientific stuff

Pacific black duck
— also called
black duck or
wild duck

Anas superciliosa

55-60 centimetres (22-24 inches)

Large duck with mid-brown to dark brown feathers, lighter at edges. Black crown on head, black stripes on face across eyes with cream above and below the eye stripe, olive-green bill.

Generally friendly, likes to be in groups. Can be aggressive towards younger ducks when feeding. Associates well with other waterbirds, such as herons, dusky moorhens, egrets, swamp hens, cormorants, ibises, spoonbills.

Using our photos

Photos on this website are copyright. If you want to use any, email us at: creeklife@gmail.com

Chuck's photos

Pacific black ducks at Calamvale Creek are the easiest water birds to photograph. In summer there are many of them, and they are not afraid to come close.

The photographer said:
“Chuck was probably the easiest bird to photograph apart from Nosy the noisy miner.

“He swam right up to me, expecting bread I think, and remained close while I photographed him.

“The Pacific black ducks are much easier to get close to than the wood ducks. And Chuck seemed to be even more sociable than most of the other Pacific blacks.

“I have photographed the Pacific blacks more than any other critters around the creek. They are lovely ducks, even though they clearly have a pecking order and some get pushy when feeding.”

Critters of Calamvale Creek

Chuck, the Pacific black duck

Also known as black duck; wild duck

Anas superciliosa

Pacific_black_duck_4 (26K)Warg warg warg.

Hello duck lovers. I'm Chuck the duck from Calamvale Creek in Brisbane, Australia.

Most people think ducks say “quack”, but I'd like you to be the first to know that our stiff bills won't let us form the qu sound. What we actually say is “warg warg warg”.

What does warg warg warg mean?

Pacific_black_duck_2 (19K) Warg warg warg usually means “Yeah yeah yeah” when Mrs Duck is talking. But it can also mean “Get out of the way”, “Let's eat”, or “Have a nice day”.

In fact it means anything we want it to mean in duck talk.

I should point out that only the men say “warg warg warg”. And we usually say it softly.

The women Pacific black ducks say warg five or six times, and they say it loudly, often when they fly down the creek to chat at the bridge.

Where do I like to hang out?

Pacific_black_duck_3 (23K)I could live in almost any type of pond, dam, pool, mudflat, or wetland. My family are scattered all over Australia, except for the dry interior.

But personally, I love it at Calamvale Creek. It is just the right size for me, and it provides good shelter, water, food, and friendly neighbours.

What do I eat?

Pacific_black_duck_1 (18K)Sometimes people throw me bread, although there is a sign near Golden Avenue saying not to feed any of the wildlife here. But most of the time I forage for seeds, aquatic grass shoots, and sometimes water insects.

Occasionally a group of us wander up to the houses around the creek and look for food in the lawns and gardens. Well, a balanced diet is important, you know.

Where do we build our nests?

Until the photographer busted us, Mrs Duck and I were the only ones who knew where our nest was. It's near where the photo below was taken — I'm trying to distract the photographer so he'll forget what he saw.

Pacific_black_duck_5 (28K)

Pacific black ducks use a variety of nesting sites. We usually nest in summer at the creek, but ducks further south may breed anytime in the second half of the year.

Mrs Duck likes to lay her eggs in the hollow of a tree, but if competition is strong for the same sites, we may stomp down some tall grasses to make a site, or use old nests of other waterbirds. Mrs Duck may lay 7-11 eggs, and incubates the eggs for 30 days. She has to keep an eye on the little ones when they hatch, because a number of birds around here attack them, and Elwood the eel is also partial to “Creeking Duck” for his dinner.


Pacific_black_duck_dabbling (20K)I am well known for “dabbling” — this is where I stick my head and neck under water, and my bottom sticks upright out of the water. We Pacific black ducks do “dabbling” better than other types of ducks.

Look at those beautiful straight lines in the photo at right. I'm perfectly balanced, and I can see what's under the water. Hey! what are you staring at Mr Eel! Warg warg warg!

— Chuck the Pacific black duck