Pink-eared Duck

Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) is truly one of a kind with an incredibly long, shoveler-like gray bill that looks like there are dull fangs coming off of either side of the tip due to flexible mandibular flaps. The namesake “pink ear” is a small pigmented spot of plumage on either side of the head a little bit above the brown eyes. The eyes are also very large for the face of this species. There is black or dark brown plumage around the eyes that extends to the back of the crown and down their neck. The rest of their face is a soft gray color.

Pink-eared Duck has very chunky black and white barring beginning on the chest and ending near the tail, resembling the pelt of a zebra. Everything except for their head is very large and rotund. The wings, whether seen during flight or at rest, are brown with most of the secondaries tipped in white. Females are not at bold as the males in plumage color and display the same pink ears.

Tiny pink-eared ducks in Australia look exactly like something you’d expect in the land of kangaroos and duck-billed platypuses. The fleshy mandibular flaps on their bills are for feeding on plankton, a principle food source. One of about a half-dozen species hunted in Australia.

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