Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Musk Duck (Biziura lobata)


French: Érismature à barbillons German: Lappenente Spanish: Malvasía papuda

Anas lobata


, 1796,

New South Wales = King George Sound, Western Australia


E race menziesi sometimes considered of dubious validity; recent genetic study, however, suggests that the two discrete populations diverged near end of Pleistocene, and this, combined with difference in display call, indicates that the two merit at least subspecific differentiation#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. l. lobata Shaw, 1796 – SW Australia.
  • B. l. menziesi Mathews, 1914 – SE Australia (C South Australia E to S Queensland, S to Victoria) and Tasmania.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 61–71 cm, 1700–3120 g, wingspan c. 87 cm; female 53–58 cm, 993–1910 g, wingspan c. 72 cm. Unmistakable diving duck with heavy body and short... read more


    Rather silent overall, except male advertising calls and those of ducklings; flight or alarm calls... read more


    Freshwater marshes, swamps and lakes with extensive bordering reedbeds, also including billabongs,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Chiefly aquatic invertebrates (insects and their larvae, molluscs, crustaceans, arachnids), amphibians, some fish and even small ducklings... read more


    Starts chiefly Sept/Oct, but variable according to water levels and egg-laying occurs Jun–Dec. Lek-breeding system, with up to 20... read more


    Mainly sedentary, but many birds, perhaps mostly juveniles, involved in small- or large-scale... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread, assumed to breed throughout main range, but population difficult to estimate; only locally abundant, e.g. rare in SW... read more

    Recommended citation

    Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Musk Duck (Biziura lobata). 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 22 March 2018).