Scientific name: Stictonetta naevosa

Other names: Canvasback, Oatmeal Duck, Speckled Duck, Diamantina Duck


  • Queensland: Least concern (NCA 1992)

What does it look like?

The freckled duck is considered Australia’s rarest water bird. It is dark greyish-brown in colour and has a sizeable head and a distinctive narrow, slightly upturned bill. The bird’s dark brown plumage is completely covered with white freckles. During the breeding season, males’ bill bases turn crimson.

The freckled duck feeds on algae, seeds, aquatic grass and sedges and small invertebrates. Feeding times are usually at dawn and at dusk, while the birds rest and hide from predators in dense cover during the day.

Where are they found?

The freckled duck’s habitat areas vary and stretch into uncommon areas during drought, fires and other natural disturbances. Within Queensland, large freckled fuck populations have been recorded in the Creek-Mulligan River system and the Diamantina River or Cooper Creek systems.

Freckled ducks tend to congregate in freshwater swamps and creeks with heavy growth of Cumbungi, Lignum or Tea-trees. During dry season, the birds move from breeding swamps to more permanent water sources such as lakes, reservoirs and farm dams.

What is threatening them?

  • Loss of wetlands and breeding grounds
  • Extraction of water, clearing of wetlands, changes to the natural river flow and flood patterns
  • Degradation of habitat
  • Illegal shooting.


The freckled duck is protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. It is an offence to damage or interfere with the freckled duck in any other way than when accepted by the Act.

Redland City Council manages environmental pests throughout the Redlands to minimise their impact on native ecosystems and birds such as the freckled duck.

Did you know...?

The freckled duck is often confused with the Pacific Black Duck (anas superciliosa) and the Hardhead (aythya australis).

Droughts force freckled ducks to move closer to residential areas, resulting in a higher risk of misidentification and being shot by duck-hunters.

How you can help

Report any illegal shootings and if you have seen or suspect the Freckled Duck at any location, please report it to IndigiScapes on (07) 3824 8611.