The Voiceless Blue-billed Diver

Bushmen speaking of Australia’s native birds mention a rare stiff-tailed duck: shy, voiceless and able to fly, though it is rarely seen in flight.

The first Australians spoke for it, telling whitefellas this duck was dumb.  In courtship the drake rises above this impediment and drums and taps with a bill blue and swollen from distilling all of summer’s sky colouring from beneath the water.

Freshwater diver in the deepwater reach, with legs set far back your mob are awkward on land. You rarely leave the permanent water where you can remain underwater, feeding for a remarkably long time.

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