[Tweeters] strange duck at Green Lake

Kelsey Byers kjbyers at uw.edu
Mon Sep 20 13:17:45 PDT 2010

Hi Tweeters,

During a walk around Green Lake in Seattle my fiance and I saw a strange
duck hanging around with a group of Mallards. I didn't get any good
pictures (interesting things always happen when I leave the camera at
home!), but a reasonable description from watching it. I can't figure out
if it's a Mallard hybrid (it doesn't look like other hybrids I've seen) or
something else. Any ideas?

The duck was a bit larger than the Mallards - maybe another inch or so in
length and a little taller too. Same general body build (definitely a
dabbler) and the same distinct Mallard beak shape. Body was medium gray
with some darker streaks on the wings (just saw on the folded wings).
Large white area on the breast and extending a bit to the sides. A medium
brown head and neck with an iridescent streak behind the eye and perhaps a
vaguely iridescent green patch under the eye. The eye was dark. Bill was
black with a blue tip - like a Redhead in reverse. Legs were orange.
The duck was quite vocal, with a much deeper voice than a female Mallard.

Definitely not a Pintail, also - wrong shape, no long tail, and the white
patch was shaped wrong. The main Mallard-like traits were the body and
bill shape and the green patch - otherwise it didn't look like a Mallard
at all, including the lack of the curled-up tail feathers that male
Mallards have.

So... Mallard hybrid, or what? I'm out of my league here :^)


Kelsey Byers (in Seattle, near Green Lake)
Department of Biology
kjbyers at uw.edu

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