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Distinguishing age, moult and sex in Victorian Game Waterfowl

16 Kas , 2019,
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Distinguishing age, moult and sex in Victorian Game Waterfowl

Concerning the industry guide

This industry guide equips the waterfowl hunter with information to help them in determining age, intercourse and moulting stages in harvested game ducks. These records can offer understanding of a populace’s efficiency, present status and recruitment from season to period. All waterfowl hunters in Victoria must certanly be competent in distinguishing various waterbird types. Nevertheless, this guide is certainly not designed to teach hunters on types recognition, but alternatively to illustrate ways of determining age, moult and sex.

Enhancing game management effort

In 2006, the Victorian Government launched the ‘Enhancing Game Management’ effort. This effort is designed to better handle our duck, deer and species that are quail their habitats, and involve community teams in on-ground preservation works. This industry guide is an item associated with the effort.

Who’s this guide for?

This industry guide provides hunters having a reference that is quick to key characteristics in determining age, intercourse and moult of Victorian game waterfowl. Its compact and durable sufficient to carry to you within the field. For convenience, nearly all info is pictorial, so observe tints and habits closely.

Why identify age, moult and sex

These areas of waterfowl biology offer critical info on the efficiency of populations, specially recruitment from period to season. Determining the timing of moult in game wild wild wild birds, provides information that is important durations when harvesting should happen without impacting reproduction.

Hunter case studies

Hunter case surveys are undertaken by the Department of main Industries (DEPI) each duck period. These studies offer wildlife managers with a snapshot of types, location, age & intercourse of waterfowl being harvested. These details, is very important whenever season that is determining and bag restrictions. Decisions applying this information make certain that our waterfowl resources and hunting tradition will be sustained for future generations to savor.


In determining age and intercourse of a bird, it is critical to realize the terminology utilized to explain the structure additionally the names for the groups that are feather the wing. Pages 14–29 of the guide describe the plumage characteristics of each and every game types in determining age and intercourse. Utilize Figure 1 and 2 being a guide when determining such faculties.

Figure 1 The physiology of the duck (instance: adult Pacific Black Duck).

Figure 2 Feathers of a duck wing (example: adult Pacific Black Duck). (adapted from Marchant and Higgins 1990).

What’s moult and exactly why will it be crucial?

Moult may be the procedure of changing used feathers with brand new ones, or changing all of them with more colourful feathers to ensure they are more desirable to mates that are potential. Moulting occurs in reaction to an assortment of regular changes that are hormonal. During cold weather, ducks moult and replace their feathers in the time that is same. Ducks stay flightless during a portion with this time if they moult their wing feathers. You will need to avoid searching during this time period as ducks will likely to be susceptible as his or her journey is reduced and overharvesting could happen. Figure 3 shows a simplistic summary of the stages inside a moult period. an understanding that is basic of moult period pays to in determining the age of waterfowl.

What exactly is plumage?

Plumage describes colouration of the bird’s feathers. Various moults cave in to plumages that are varying. The very first moult a duck undergoes because it matures from a chick may be the very very first pre-basic moult. With this moult the juvenile duck replaces its downy feathers with completely created human anatomy feathers. The bird is categorized an immature bird upon conclusion of very first moult that is pre-basic. Its new feathers are drab in color and considered fundamental plumage. Into the planting season, just because the reproduction period gets underway, a partial lack of feathers occurs whenever male ducks placed on their reproduction plumage. After breeding, the bird will go through a complete moult (wing and human anatomy) and revert back again to its non-breeding fundamental plumage. This is how wing moult is many obvious. (Note: only a few game types display traits associated with the complete moult period).

Figure 3 Moult Period (example: Australian Wood Duck).

Distinguishing moult in waterfowl

As soon as wild birds have reached readiness (4-6 months) they will have encountered one cycle that is complete of. Through the ru brides moult that is annual waterfowl have an entire and simultaneous moult of these wing feathers (named remige moult) which will leave them flightless for just two to 30 days. This generally happens after breeding, where the male reverts back again to fundamental plumage and undergoes complete wing moult. If reproduction happens later within the period, wing moult may be nevertheless obvious in harvested waterfowl. Figure 4 defines the stages within remige moult and what things to look out for in determining moult in harvested waterfowl.

  1. In the first phase of moult the principal trip feathers & most regarding the additional feathers have now been lost. Seek out numerous lack of trip feathers.
  2. More or less 5 times to the remige moult, the trip feather guidelines emerge from their sheaths that are soft. Search for the clear presence of appearing feathers (or ‘pin’ feathers).
  3. Around a couple of weeks following the start of remige moult, the soft sheaths start to create the shaft regarding the journey feathers. (in harvested birds, this phase can be mistaken because of the current presence of shot harm).
  4. Complete remige moult. The shafts of this trip feathers are completely created and also the bird has the capacity to travel.

Figure 4 Remige moult stages.

Determining the chronilogical age of waterfowl

Waterfowl may be classified into three age groups; juvenile, immature and adult. Juveniles could be identified because of the existence of the downy plumage. Immature wild birds (yearlings) tend to be more tough to recognize. While they have undergone the initial pre-basic moult, immature wild wild wild birds can retain some juvenile downy feathers and additionally undertake adult plumage faculties. Figure 5 shows generalised differences when considering adult and immature feathers that may be broadly placed on Victorian waterfowl.

Figure 5 Feather faculties of immature and ducks that are adultinstance: Pacific Ebony Duck flight feathers).

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