The hardhead (Aythya australis) (also white-eyed duck) is the only true diving duck found in Australia. Hardheads are common in the south-east of Australia, particularly in the Murray-Darling Basin, but also in the wetter country near the coasts. They are moderately nomadic in normal years, but disperse widely in times of drought. Significant numbers reach as far afield as New Guinea, New Zealand, and the islands of the Pacific, where they can remain for some time, even breeding for a season or two.

Like the other members of the pochard group, hardheads feed by diving deeply, often staying submerged for as long as a minute at a time. They slip under the water with barely a ripple, simply lowering their heads and thrusting with their powerful webbed feet. They eat a broad range of small aquatic creatures, and supplement this with water weeds.

Hardheads prefer larger lakes, swamps and rivers with deep, still water, but are often seen in smaller streams, flooded grasslands, and shallow pools. As a general rule, they avoid coastal waters. They rarely come to land and never perch in trees.

Hardheads are small by duck standards, usually not much more than 45 cm long but reaching 60 cm sometimes, and noticeably more rounded in overall form than most ducks. Both male and female are a fairly uniform chocolate-brown above, with rufous flanks and white undersides (which are often not visible if the duck is in the water). The trailing edges and almost the entire underside of the wings are white. In the male, the eyes are a striking white, in the female, brown.

Widespread throughout its large range, the hardhead is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
White-eyed Duck
Date Location Count
2020-05-19 16:08Lake Joondalup3
2020-05-07 08:47Herdsman Lake4
2020-04-29 14:07Lake Monger Reserve4
2020-05-21 11:04John Oldham Park (Perth)3
2020-05-08 09:48Clydesdale Reserve2
2020-05-09 17:29Queens Gardens, Perth7
2020-05-03 11:30Burswood Ponds1
2020-05-14 16:39Lake Brearley and Lake Bungana (Maylands)4
2020-05-17 11:30Dubs Close, Forrestfield4
2020-05-19 08:59Nimalaica Wetland (restricted access)1
2020-05-26 09:30Broome South Wastewater Treatment Plant1
2020-05-13 08:25Broome North Wastewater Treatment Plant (restricted access)13
2020-05-05 07:09Wader Beach (Roebuck Bay)1
2020-05-03 15:54Broome Bird Observatory17
2020-05-19 08:30Lake Eda (restricted access)80
2020-05-09 10:55Lake Campion (restricted access)10
2020-05-09 08:30Taylors Lagoon (restricted access)35
2020-05-24 09:10Halls Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant24
2020-05-24 16:55Katherine Wastewater Treatment Plant3
2020-05-17 06:30Normanton-Floraville Rd, Bynoe River crossing12
2020-05-17 15:00Normanton5
2020-05-19 10:45Magazine Road Wetlands (Dry Creek)1
2020-05-12 12:16Davidson Reserve, Kapunda1
2020-05-15 15:44Paiwalla Wetland Reserve5
2020-05-21 13:53McDougall Rd, Julatten2
2020-05-15 12:20Julatten5
2020-05-16 08:43Wondecla State Forest2
2020-05-18 14:17Dam on Springvale Rd, Wondecla2
2020-05-27 08:08Hasties Swamp National Park6
2020-05-24 12:14Hasties Swamp Bird Hide18
2020-05-10 06:20Barnes Pikle Nature Refuge (restricted access)1
2020-05-25 10:52Lake Morris, Cairns4
2020-05-16 15:30Longreach Sewage Ponds4
2020-05-07 08:30Yankabilly Island8
2020-05-26 16:50Ross River Dam Borrow Pits3
2020-05-15 08:00Ross River Dam, Riverway Dr and SW Hinterland2
2020-05-21 07:00Anderson Park (Townsville)1
2020-05-09 11:16Fairfield Waters Wetland1
2020-05-22 12:03Peter Faust Dam--Lake Proserpine7
2020-05-21 07:36Lake Elphinstone164
2020-05-07 15:00Pioneer Lakes (Mirani)1
2020-05-26 10:45Kinchant Dam12
2020-05-26 13:56De Moleyns Lagoon5
2020-05-07 12:45Kennington Reservoir1
2020-05-23 10:35Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens1
2020-05-05 12:05Eynesbury Forest and Grasslands3
2020-05-26 07:51Western Treatment Plant--Western Lagoons1
2020-05-27 13:30Romsey Sewage Treatment Ponds1
2020-05-27 14:39Blue Waters Lake Reserve1
2020-05-11 14:00Lake Lorne1
2020-05-22 10:46St Lawrence--wetland19
2020-05-22 09:00Jacana Wetland1
2020-05-14 09:26Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve4
2020-05-07 15:12Jensen Reserve1
2020-05-15 11:12Westgate Park1
2020-05-19 15:40Royal Park --Trin Warren Tam-boore1
2020-05-23 08:40Royal Park2
2020-04-29 10:43Growling Frog Golf Course16
2020-05-11 08:00Elsternwick Public Golf Course1
2020-05-10 09:31Plenty Gorge Park--South Morang Wetlands1
2020-05-25 10:45Plenty Gorge Park1
2020-05-25 12:15Laurimar Parks and Wetlands2
2020-05-17 13:30Banyule Flats Reserve1
2020-05-23 13:15Karkarook Park1
2020-05-20 12:30Braeside Park2
2020-05-28 10:02Braeside Park Wetlands1
2020-05-06 12:00Railway Dam, Roma1
2020-04-28 09:58Glen Waverley Golf Course1
2020-05-26 10:56Jells Park4
2020-05-20 16:05Dandenong Valley Wetland1
2020-05-25 12:21Eastern Treatment Plant80
2020-05-19 14:15Eastern Treatment Plant--Boundary Rd Wetlands1
2020-05-09 07:23Corhanwarrabul and Ferny Creek, Knoxfield1
2020-05-18 07:14Lilydale Sewage Treatment Plant1
2020-05-10 09:32Yarra Valley Trail, Lilydale to Coldstream2
2020-05-18 07:25Hamilton Park1
2020-05-26 10:05Candowie Reservoir2
2020-05-23 10:26Docker Swamp1
2020-05-27 14:20Theodore Wastewater Treatment Plant3
2020-05-04 13:51Duck Pond Environmental Reserve2
2020-05-17 14:43Trafalgar Wastewater Treatment Ponds (restricted access)7
2020-05-18 13:20Myrtleford Sewage Ponds3
2020-05-17 16:12Moe Wastewater Treatment Plant (restricted access)5
2020-05-23 11:38Mathison Park1
2020-05-24 09:35Traralgon Railway Reservoir Conservation Reserve3
2020-05-09 06:15Police Creek, Gladstone1
2020-05-09 14:41Tondoon Botanic Gardens, Gladstone2
2020-05-23 11:25Narrabri Lake1
2020-05-12 16:22MacLeod Morass Wildlife Reserve1
2020-05-09 08:54Warrawee Forest Reserve1
2020-05-19 09:30Lake Broadwater Conservation Park1
2020-05-18 11:45Putta Bucca Wetlands, Mudgee4
2020-05-22 08:50Lakes Entrance Wastewater Treatment Plant1
2020-05-15 06:49Gin Gin Rd Lagoon, South Kolan4
2020-05-25 15:53West Belconnen Pond4
2020-05-17 12:47Yerrabi Pond4
2020-05-18 12:16Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve--south near Big Dam1
2020-05-14 08:35Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve1
2020-05-03 12:25Isabella Pond1
2020-05-24 08:24Jerrabomberra Wetlands NR--pool5
2020-05-20 08:10Jerrabomberra Wetlands NR--Woodland Loop1
2020-05-27 07:33Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve1
2020-05-27 14:57Bundaberg Botanical Gardens10
2020-05-22 11:02Rubyanna Rd1
2020-05-19 14:00Manilla Sewage Treatment Plant2
2020-05-10 09:27Barayamal National Park--Lake Inverell Reserve10
2020-05-12 14:21Wollondilly River at Rossi Bridge and Weir2
2020-05-19 15:41Loveday Cove (Lake Cooby)8
2020-05-09 08:26Kearney Springs Historical Park2
2020-05-24 09:03Goulburn Maturation Ponds (restricted access, Council key required)7
2020-05-21 09:15Anzac Park (Maryborough)9
2020-05-16 11:43Wentworth Street Dam, Warwick13
2020-05-22 13:00Goulds Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary2
2020-05-01 14:22Lake Alford Park (Gympie)1
2020-05-15 08:45Peter Murrell Reserves1
2020-05-28 08:23Atkinsons Dam9
2020-05-06 14:00Penna Settling Ponds (restricted access)1
2020-05-25 13:06Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve2
2020-05-27 10:15Brisbane River Crossing (Wivenhoe Pocket Rd)4
2020-05-26 08:00Baroon Pocket Dam--Northern Recreation Area1
2020-05-27 15:05Bushells Lagoon3
2020-05-27 16:48Pitt Town Lagoon3
2020-05-13 06:35Lake Manchester8
2020-05-09 13:00Nurragingy Reserve1
2020-05-25 06:47Parklakes Wetlands (Bli Bli)1
2020-05-26 12:55Mount Annan Botanic Gardens7
2020-05-09 11:37Mount Annan Botanic Garden--Lake Gilinganadum1
2020-05-15 16:22Lake Samsonvale--Kobble Creek BBQ Area20
2020-05-03 06:20Lake Samsonvale--Postmans Track20
2020-05-06 06:36Rush Creek Rd, Dayboro (permit and farmer's permission required)3
2020-05-26 06:51Lake Samsonvale--Golds Scrub Lane (some areas restricted access)2
2020-05-23 07:47Second Ponds Creek Wetland1
2020-05-24 14:10Lakes Edge Park1
2020-05-10 08:00Centenary Lakes, Caboolture2
2020-05-09 12:00Norwest Lake, Bella Vista2
2020-05-26 09:08Gold Creek Reservoir1
2020-05-01 12:31Mallacoota Recycled Water Plant7
2020-05-05 07:00Link Track at west end of Enoggera Reservoir2
2020-05-16 14:19Robins Creek Wetlands1
2020-05-27 08:35Link Track at east end of Enoggera Reservoir6
2020-05-17 13:58Priors Pocket (Moggill)1
2020-05-10 01:05Lake Eden3
2020-05-26 08:42Black Duck Hole (Murrumba Downs)3
2020-05-16 12:04Stanthorpe Drive, Kanahooka (restricted access)1
2020-05-20 08:40Thomas Macleod Park (Sinnamon Park)1
2020-05-12 11:30Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens1
2020-05-22 11:20Safety Cove State Reserve6
2020-05-23 08:35Nathan Road Wetlands Reserve1
2020-05-02 14:20Oxley Creek Common2
2020-05-28 10:34Salt Pan Creek Boardwalk1
2020-05-27 13:22Dowse Lagoon (Sandgate)8
2020-05-03 15:15University of Queensland--UQ Lakes1
2020-05-26 13:00Kedron Brook Bikeway (near Nudgee Golf Club)4
2020-05-24 14:53Rockdale Bicentennial Park1
2020-05-21 07:35BQ Survey Site 4173 (island only)1
2020-05-24 11:30Minnippi Parklands1
2020-05-08 08:54Berrinba Wetlands1
2020-05-23 13:00Sydney Park1
2020-05-13 13:30Sir Joseph Banks Park, Botany1
2020-05-14 10:25Underwood Park (Priestdale)1
2020-05-27 09:17Centennial Park (Sydney)7
2020-04-29 09:35Central Coast Wetlands - Pioneer Dairy1
2020-05-16 16:09Doug Larsen Park, Beenleigh1
2020-05-17 10:28Schmidt Rd--North near Eagleby Rd intersection, Eagleby2
2020-05-23 08:30Eagleby Wetlands4
2020-05-27 12:15Hunter Wetlands Centre (Newcastle)1
2020-05-13 10:15Tea Trees Wetland (Arundel)4
2020-05-26 07:30Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens1
2020-05-05 07:57Boyd Park2
2020-05-26 14:15King Creek Rd Swamp, Wauchope23
2020-05-05 16:10Belmore River5
2020-05-27 13:24Port Macquarie Wastewater Treatment Plant Settling Ponds2