The Pink-eared Duck is widely distributed throughout Australia. Highly mobile, these ducks can appear anywhere there is standing water, especially in dry inland regions. They will fly great distances in search of water. Huge flocks often reach the coast in dry years. They are dependent on plankton, as well as crustaceans, mollusks and insects. The highly specialized bill is fringed with fine lamellae (grooves) to filter out the microscopic plants and animals which make up the bulk of its diet.
Its name refers to a pink spot behind the eyes; it is only noticeable from very close, making the seldom-used Australian name of Zebra Duck more appropriate.
The above picture was taken at the San Diego Zoo, in March 2004.
Life on Earth