Ducklings hatch out of eggs
IT WAS THE CHANCE DISCOVERY of a hatching egg by wildlife filmmaker Simon Cherriman that led to this spectacular footage of a musk duck chick’s first breaths.
Simon was thrilled when he returned to a nest he had found in a small wetland in the Perth Hills, WA, and found the eggs about to hatch.
“I had returned only with the intention of getting some better still photos of the nest as it was such a rare opportunity,” says Simon, who shot the footage with Canon 600D and GoPro miniature HD cameras.
Musk duck: largest duck in Australia
The native musk duck (Biziura lobata), found from north-west WA across to the south and east coasts, is Australia’s largest species of duck. The male of the species can grow up to 70cm long. The musk duck is named for the odour it releases from a gland on its rump.
The nest location in the film is typical of the species – hidden within a thick reed bed in a freshwater lagoon. Female ducks lay one clutch of eggs per year in cup-like nests that are lined with feathers and grass.
Musk ducks aren’t often seen on land, as the positioning of their legs make them ungainly walkers. They are, however, expert divers and swimmers, allowing them to easily escape predators and find food.
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