Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Hardhead (Aythya australis)


French: Fuligule austral German: Tasmanmoorente Spanish: Porrón australiano
Other common names: White-eyed Duck

Nyroca australis


, 1838,

Australia = New South Wales


Generally considered to be closest to A. innotata, A. baeri and A. nyroca. Hybridization with Anas platyrhynchos recorded in captivity. Breeding birds collected in Banks Is, Vanuatu, were assigned a separate subspecies, extima, although it has been suggested that this population represented a temporary colonization by nomadic Australian birds; similarly, races have been described from Java (ledeboeri) and W New Guinea (papuana). Monotypic.


SW & E Australia, Tasmania; isolated population of Banks Is, in Vanuatu, may be result of brief colonization by birds of Australian origin. Probable breeder in Timor-Leste#R.

Descriptive notes

42–59 cm; male 525–1100 g, female 530–1060 g; wingspan 65–70 cm. Both sexes rich chestnut-brown, especially on head and breast (where almost glossy),... read more


Considered to be generally silent, except during courtship, when male gives soft wheezy whistle and... read more


Rather large, deep-water lakes and marshes with abundant emergent vegetation. Occasionally feeds in... read more

Food and feeding

Essentially vegetarian diet; seeds, flowers and vegetative parts of grasses, sedges and other aquatic plants; also aquatic invertebrates (... read more


Season variable, generally during period of highest water levels and inland flooding, probably Aug–Dec in main; Sept–Oct in New... read more


Present throughout year in many areas, but dispersive and nomadic during dry season. May wander... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common, though declined considerably during first two-thirds of 20th century, but thereafter population has remained stable... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Hardhead (Aythya australis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 10 December 2019).