Blue-billed duck

Australische stekelstaarteend

Blue-billed duck (Oxyura australis)

The Blue-billed duck (Oxyura australis) is a stiff-tailed duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
Australische stekelstaarteend
English name:
Blue-billed duck
German name:
Australische Ruderente
French name:
Érismature australe
Scientific name:
Oxyura australis

Scientific classification




Black head and neck , lightly flecked chestnut when fresh plumage. Upperparts and under parts dark chestnut, richest on breast and fore flanks, grading into silvery-grey to brown center to belly, vent and under tail -converts, with darker mottling. Tail blackish. Upper wing dark brown, with chestnut flecking on converts; underwing grey. Bill cobalt-blue with black nail. Legs and feet grey.

Dark brown head and neck with darker freckling, Becoming paler on chin, throat and lower cheeks. Upperparts and underparts dark brown, finely barred buff, grading to paler brown on center of belly, vent and under tail-converts. Wings and tail browner. Bill, legs and Feet grey.

As female, but paler and less obvious barred. Tail shorter. Bill grey green. 

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Blue-billed duck measures approximately 35-44 centimeters. The female measures approximately 35-44 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 850 gram. The female will weight about 810 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

The Blue-billed Duck prefers deep water in large permanent wetlands and swamps with dense aquatic vegetation. The species is completely aquatic, swimming low in the water along the edge of dense cover. It will fly if disturbed, but prefers to dive if approached. During autumn and winter the species aggregates in large flocks but disperses to smaller water bodies when breeding.


In captivity, a male with two to three females can be placed together on a pond. The female chooses the nest site and builds the nest. The nesting bowl is made of water plants and dead leaves. A layer of down is placed on top. Once the female begins to lay or brood, the drake is no longer interested.

The female Blue-billed duck usually lays from 5-6 cream, yellow-white or pale olive-buff eggs and incubates them for 24-28 days.

Artificial incubating:

The ideal relative humidity for incubating most waterfowl eggs is 55% (ground nesters) and 40% (cavity nesters). The temperature is usually 37.4°C. Set ventilation as recommended by the incubator manufacturer. Eggs must be turned, either automatically or by hand, a minimum of 4 times a day. As the duckling develops there is a loss of water from the egg and the air sac gets bigger. In normal development of an egg with a 24-28 days incubation, the air sac occupies about a third of it three days earlier. Cleanliness is vital and ideally eggs should be moved to a separate hatcher at this point, where the humidity should be increased to 65% and even higher once they have pipped internally.

Bird banding:
Recommended closed leg band ring size for the Blue-billed duck is 9 mm.
The leg band ring can only be applied on a young stiff-tailed duck at around 0 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it's good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male
Lundi Micro Regular
Lundi Micro Regular
Lundi Micro Regular

Floatable special rearing feed for all types of aquatic ornamental fowl - especially for the cultivation of trees as well as greening ducks.

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Made exclusively from wholesome and selected raw materials, Lundi Micro Regular is also ideally suited for the year-round feeding of waterfowl.

Maintenance food:
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular

Lundi Regular with a protein content of 20%, valuable Spirulina and high-quality by-products is optimally balanced in its composition maintenance food for water ornamental fowl of all kinds. Especially green teal and Whistling ducks that are not dependent on a very high protein content, are well supplied.

Lundi Regular contains all the minerals and vitamins in full form that are important for the animals. Therefore also suitable as breeding food.

Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
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Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium

Floating full food for all sea ducks, green ducks, eider ducks and geese, especially in the moulting and breeding phase ideally suited. Packed with wholesome raw materials, natural vitamins and trace elements, this performance food with a protein content of 30% forms the basis for lifelong vitality.

Photos of the Blue-billed duck

Videos of the Blue-billed duck