Historical information

The Australian Wood Duck is commonly described as 'goose-like' in appearance. They reside throughout Australia and Tasmania in regions including grasslands, open woodlands, wetlands, flooded pastures and along the coast and bays. Unlike some breeds of ducks, this species can walk on land with ease and can often be seen perched on logs and in trees. The Wood Duck eat grass, clover and other herbs. On occasion they eat insects.

This specimen is part of a collection of almost 200 animal specimens that were originally acquired as skins from various institutions across Australia, including the Australian Museum in Sydney and the National Museum of Victoria (known as Museums Victoria since 1983), as well as individuals such as amateur anthropologist Reynell Eveleigh Johns between 1860-1880. These skins were then mounted by members of the Burke Museum Committee and put-on display in the formal space of the Museum’s original exhibition hall where they continue to be on display. This display of taxidermy mounts initially served to instruct visitors to the Burke Museum of the natural world around them, today it serves as an insight into the collecting habits of the 19th century.


This specimen is part of a significant and rare taxidermy mount collection in the Burke Museum. This collection is scientifically and culturally important for reminding us of how science continues to shape our understanding of the modern world. They demonstrate a capacity to hold evidence of how Australia’s fauna history existed in the past and are potentially important for future environmental research.

This collection continues to be on display in the Museum and has become a key part to interpreting the collecting habits of the 19th century.

Physical description

The female Wood Duck has a pale brown head with dark glass eyes. The head is looking backwards over left shoulder. The bill is a dull grey colour and the legs are a similar grey.The breast is speckled cream-grey with a white lower belly and under-tail. There is a paper tag tied to the upper part of the Wood Duck's right leg, a white label attached to the front right of the wooden platform and a grey label on the left beside the white label.

Inscriptions & markings

....[missing] Goose /
....[missing] page 38. /

133 /