[Tweeters] hybrid ducks

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Tue Dec 9 08:58:49 PST 2008

Hello, tweets.

For anyone interested in hybrid ducks, here is a website with some


Of great interest, the photographer (Dave Appleton) shows a duck that
looks very much like the duck photographed by Scott Carpenter at
Ridgefield NWR and calls it a hybrid Northern Shoveler x Blue-winged
Teal. As in the Ridgefield bird, the white facial mark is rather
different from the same mark in a Blue-winged Teal, although more
like that of an Australian Shoveler. I assume the parentage is
speculative rather than definite. As the bird was in England, where
neither Blue-winged nor Cinnamon Teal breed, this makes it even more
puzzling. If a wild vagrant from North America, Blue-winged breed a
lot closer to England than Cinnamon do, and a Blue-winged hybrid
seems more likely.

However, there are a lot of waterfowl fanciers in the UK with many
species in their collections, and these collections are prime venues
for hybridization, as there might not be pairs of every species. As I
wrote earlier, the mating urge is strong, and animals will often
attempt to mate with another similar species if they can't find a
mate of their own species. The Mallard x Egyptian Goose hybrids
reported on this site indicate that it doesn't even have to be a
similar species! Ducks are notorious for their indiscriminate mating

The eye in the UK bird is a bit darker than the one in Scott's
photos. Male Northern Shovelers have yellow eyes, Blue-winged Teal
brown eyes, and Cinnamon Teal red eyes. I know nothing about the
inheritance of eye color in ducks, but it might be influenced in
hybrids by which parent was which sex.
Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115
dennispaulson at comcast.net

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