DISTRIBUTION: Widespread from Indonesia, Australia, eastward to New Zealand and much of Polynesia. It is known elsewhere as the Pacific Black Duck. It is widespread throughout New Zealand but generally favours more remote interior wetlands.
HABITAT: Wetlands, streams, rivers and large areas of water including stock dams on farms.
BREEDING: Breeding takes place from September to December. About 5 days after the eggs have been laid the male loses interest and leaves the female to look for other solitary females. Soon after hatching the chicks take to the water.
FOOD: Aquatic snails, other invertebrates, aquatic plants, worms and caterpillars.
GENERAL: When at rest, purebred grey ducks are easily distinguished by their obvious ‘zebra striped’ faces. While in flight, a bright iridescent green window of colour can be seen on the upper side of the inner wing. Numbers of grey ducks are decreasing due to continued interbreeding with the introduced mallard. Until about 1960, grey ducks made up 95 per cent of New Zealand's dabbling duck population, but is now only 500,000 compared to the 5 million mallards.