Ducks at UOW

Get to know the ducks at UOW

Did you know we have a number of different varieties of native and introduced duck species on the UOW Wollongong Campus?

Native Duck Species

Australian Wood Duck

The Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata) spends much of its time feeding on grasses and insects on the grassy lawns around campus. Breeding pairs stay together and raise their young. There are always plenty of ducklings to be seen with their parents during spring. Please keep your distance from the ducklings as the parents will get very protective. The Australian Wood Ducks are often walking across the ring road and carparks so please take care when driving around campus.   For more information about the Australian Wood Duck visit the Birds in Backyards website

Australian Wood Duck and chicks

Australian Wood Duck.  Photograph courtesy of A Wardle

 White-eyed Duck

The White-eyed duck or Hardhead (Aythya australis) is seen in the ponds on campus and is rarely on land. This duck’s diet consists of aquatic plants as well as mussels and shellfish.  For more information about the White-eyed Duck visit the Birds in Backyards website

White eyed Duck

White-eyed Duck. Photograph courtesy of A Wardle.

Pacific Black Duck

The Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) spends a lot of its time in the water as it feeds on the seeds of aquatic plants, crustaceans, molluscs and insects.For more information about the White-eyed Duck visit the Birds in Backyards website

Pacific Black Duck 

Pacific Black Duck. Photograph courtesy of A Wardle.

All native ducks and native waterbirds will keep their distance from people. From time to time you may see baby chicks and ducklings on campus please admire them from a distance as the parents will become protective of their young.

Introduced Duck Species

There are also a number of introduced ducks at Wollongong Campus. These ducks were once domestic pets that have been dumped on campus by their owners and then have breed among themselves.

Muscovy Duck

The Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschate) is an introduced duck that has a distinctive red fleshy and lumpy face. They can be aggressive fighting over food and mates. Muscovy Ducks do not swim and spend all of their time on land.

Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck. Photograph courtesy of A Wardle.

Khaki Campbell Duck

Khaki Campbell Ducks are an introduced duck that loves the water and will spend a lot of their time swimming.

Khaki Campbell Duck

Khaki Campbell Duck. Photograph courtesy of A Wardle.

Baxter the Duck

Baxter the Duck is UOW’s mascot and was named after Sir Phillip Baxter who played a role in the founding of UOW.  

Baxter the Duck

Baxter the Duck

The introduced duck species on campus will eat grass and other insects but are opportunistic and have been known to steal people’s lunches. They also can create health and safety issues with duck poo around the campus eateries.

Why you shouldn't feed the ducks

We have a beautiful campus and the ducks are an intrinsic part of our campus environment and hold a special place in the hearts and minds of our past and present students and staff.
Please avoid feeding the ducks, particularly in and around the eateries and assist in keeping them outside.

A number of problems are created by feeding the ducks directly or leaving food out for the ducks on the lawn or near the ponds on campus.

  • The ducks can become dependent on you feeding them and will not forage for food themselves.
  • The ducks will become aggressive and steal food from unsuspecting people.
  • Leaving food on the lawns or around the ponds attracts vermin (rats and mice) and other birds which will create their own set of problems. If the food enters the ponds and creek areas it will also foul up the water.
  • Feeding the ducks bread can cause digestive problems and Avian Botulism which is fatal.

Please help to prevent unnecessary impacts on our campus environment and its wildlife.

Download the Factsheet - Get to Know the ducks at UOW (pdf)

Other native water birds you might see at UOW

Dusky Moorhen

The Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa) has a red bill with a yellow tip and a red face shield. It is found in and around the ponds at UOW feeding on algae, water plants and grasses, seeds, fruits, molluscs and invertebrates.  For more information about the Dusky Moorhen visit the Birds in Backyards website

 Dusky Moorehen

Dusky Moorhen. Photograph courtesy of A Wardle.

Eurasian Coot

The Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) has a white bill and face shield and feed mostly on plant material and will dive underwater to feed.  For more information about the Eurasian Coot visit the Birds in Backyards website

 Eurasian Coot

Eurasian Coot. Photograph courtesy of A Wardle.

Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphens (Porphyrio porphyrio) have a red bill and red face shield and a purple- blue colouring will most often be seen wandering around the edges of the UOW ponds among the reeds. They eat the shoots of water plants such as reeds and also will eat snails and frogs.  For more information about the Purple Swamphen visit the Birds in Backyards website

 Purple swamphen

Purple Swamphen. Photograph courtesy of A Wardle.

Buff Banded Rail

The Buff Banded Rail (Gallirallus phillippensis) can be seen not far from the ponds before it will scurry into the cover of the reeds of the water’s edge. It has a varied diet such as crustaceans, molluscs, insects, seeds, fruits and frogs.  For more information about the Buff Banded Rail visit the Birds in Backyards website

Buff Banded Rail

Buff Banded Rail. Photograph courtesy of A Wardle.

Royal Spoonbill

The Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia) is an occasional visitor to UOW feeding in the shallow waterways.  For more information about the Royal Spoonbill visit the Birds in Backyards website

 Royal Spoonbill

Royal Spoonbill. Photograph courtesy of A Wardle.

White -faced Heron

The White -faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) is also an occasional visitor to campus. For more information about the White-faced Heron visit the Birds in Backyards website
 White-faced Heron

White-faced Heron. Photograph courtesy of A Wardle.

 Download the Factsheet- Native Waterbirds at UOW (pdf)

Last reviewed: 30 May, 2017