[Tweeters] Hybrid Ducks

SGMlod at aol.com SGMlod at aol.com
Sun Dec 19 13:54:52 PST 2004


Greetings All

Yesterday, despite being Baikal-less, was most interesting. There were two 
curious hybrid ducks present at the Kent Ponds, and both were still present this 
morning. One is a clear "Brewster's Duck"-- a Mallard x Gadwall hybrid 
(male). The other seemed to defy ID, and had one particularly interesting mark: a 
black and white ring around the base of the neck. That mark is held by only one 
duck I know of -- Falcated Duck.

The bird in question has a body much like a Gadwall in size, shape, and 
color. From what I could tell, the wing pattern was that of a Gadwall. 
Interestingly, in front of the black vent there is a small white smudge. The head shape is 
also robust and Gadwall like. The head and (from just below eye and up) is a 
bright rusty that's almost iridescent. Today I was able to note that there was 
some uneveness and the center of the crown seemed a different shade-- hard to 
pin down the exact difference. At times, the iridescence took on a greenish 
look. In front of the eye, the color was buff, and that was the color of the 
cheek as well. The lower sides of the neck had some buff intruding into the 
iridescent rust. 

Anyway, I wondered about a hybrid Falcated Duck x Gadwall; I thought I had 
little hopes of finding any such description, photo, etc. I looked through what 
I could find of wigeon x Gadwall, etc. and found little that resembled this 
bird. However, in a slim volume entitled Hybrid Ducks: A contribution towards an 
inventory by Eric and Barry Gilham (1996-- available via NHBS.COM -- there 
are several follow up volumes, all expensive, and despite remarks to the 
contrary, all without photos), there is a picture of a hybrid male Falcated Duck x 
Gadwall. Though not an exact fit, this photographed known hybrid bares (well, 
actually bears) many features in common with the Kent Pond bird. Indeed, it 
seems that GADW x FADU is the only way to explain the black-and-white neck rings. 
The known hybrid also shows a black vent with a small white smudge in front. 
Interestingly, the FADU at Tofino a number of years back assiduously courted 
female Gadwall.

What this means for the origin question of the Baikal Teal, I have no idea.

We once had a rash of odd hybrids in Everett: Tufted Duck x ?, Wood Duck x 
Mallard, and White-cheeked Pintail x (Gadwall?).  All in the same 2 month 
period.

Best Wishes and Good Baikal Hunting

Steven Mlodinow
Everett WA
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