By Kevin J. Waterfowl can be fun for beginning birders because they are relatively easy to watch, not flitting through the trees or into the bushes like little dicky birds. They have very distinctive plumages with large patches of color in bold patterns that make identification relatively easy. True, the female dabblers all look pretty much alike, but the males are distinctive. How can you lokking out what it is?
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Duck identification problems often fall into one of only a few. In this article I will attempt to explain some of mormal and give common examples of each. Domestic duck breeds are not illustrated in most field guides, and the older guides did not mention this problem at all. When people go out looking for wild birds they seem to forget that domestic breeds exist.
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But, these domestic monsters do get mixed up in flocks of wild birds, too, so how do you spot them? The most obvious character of a muscovy is the red facial skin. This red skin can be quite bumpy, exaggerated, and frankly, gross, with a knob on top of the bill and lumps all over. The wild type plumage of muscovy is all black, glossy greenish on the back, and with large white wing Olathe girls Olathe. But, because of our fondness for white, domestic muscovies can be pure white, all black, or any degree of pied black-and-white.
Mallard breeds can be somewhat confusing. They can be larger than normal or much smaller, darker or lighter, all white or all black. Watch for the little curled feathers on the back of the male, above the tail.
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Only the Mallard and its domestic descendants have those. Well, the Hawaiian Duck does too, but the chances of seeing one of those around here is about zero. Again, lots of white is often involved, including all-white breeds like the popular Pekin Duck. Another common form is the bibbed version. It has a sort of normal body and head plumage, and a white lookig.
Other forms and crosses Kailua1 women sex ads have spots of white just about anywhere.
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Usually these white spots are not symmetrical across both sides, and that asymmetry should tip you off hormal think domestic influence. The passion for weird plumage in domestic ducks does not stop with white, but can go the other way too. Some breeds are darker than normal Mallard plumage. This duck is dark all over and rather iridescent, like its shiny speculum feathers got spread over the entire bird.
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Very handsome, indeed. Just be aware that very odd things exist in the world of domestic poultry, and oddity should make you consider domestic origin.
Body size can often be a clue toward domesticity. The first breeds of domestic Mallard were bred for food, and consequently for large body size. A domestic duck can be twice the size of a wild Mallard. But, domestics can be smaller than normal llooking.
Indian runner ducks are long and lean. These are very odd, tall, skinny ducks that look like bowling pins. They are great egg producers but have totally tubular bodies. Balf ducks are tiny, teal-sized things that have smaller bills and more rounded he than normal ducks. They can have normal Mallard plumage, white, faded, or dark.
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Males will still have the curled tail feathers and the plumage will generally fit in the same basic as the other Mallard types. This dusky call duck was in Union Springs, Cayuga Co.
Ducks are good fliers, and some fly long distances in migration. That means sometimes we get European or Asian ducks turning up in North America. Such an occurrence is pretty rare, though, haalf the few species that do this are generally illustrated in the field guides. Keeping ornamental waterfowl is very popular. It can be surprising how many people have captive ducks and geese.
Sometimes these ducks get loose, and sometimes their owners get rid of them handsoke turning them out on a pond or lake. The best local examples of this phenomenon are the Mandarin Duck pair that was at Myers Point, Lansing, NY briefly in Januaryand the Red-crested Pochards and hybrid that put in an appearance there many years ago.
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One mark that seems to show up more frequently is pinioning, where the tip of one wing is surgically removed to keep the bird from flying. When pinioned ducks flap, you can see the half-a-wing pretty clearly as was the case with the aforementioned pochards. A of guides to all of the ducks of the world are available, so a quick browse through one of them might find your odd duck.
If not, try one of the other possibilities. Male ducks provide no parental care, and female ducks do not have to feed their young, just lead them around.
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Which is why male ducks can get away with not helping. This situation can lead to careless sex and consequently hybridization. Although hybrid ducks are not that common overall, they do occur on a regular basis. It turns out that most females of the Mallard close relatives find a green head really sexy, and they will hook up with Mallard males whenever they are available.
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Such propensities create some conservation concern when domestic Mallards are introduced into the range of some other species, such as American Black Duck or Mottled For. Note that one has the half upper tail coverts like a Mallard and the normal one does not. Sometimes the handsome pairs are Fuck local single moms Hunting Valley species that are not other related, such as Hooded Merganser X Common Goldeneye.
In captivity where ducks from all over are housed together, anything can happen. The clues for finding a hybrid are not so clear cut. The easiest way to spot them is when they have characters intermediate between the great species. A black duck X Mallard male will often have the mostly dull plumage of the black duck and some green on the head.
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Looing may or may not have the curled feathers over the tail, and the speculum can be blue like a Mallard or more purple like the black duck. Small green patches on the head can be a good of some Mallard parentage. In general, watch for symmetrical abnormalities, patches of color or lack of color.
Amongst the dabbling ducks certain patterns seem to occur in hybrids, even if they are not present in the parents. Pale cheeks and a Baikal Teal face pattern can result from a of different pairings. Note its presence, if faint, in the second Mallard X Fat women Kangbyonmaul duck pictured above. Audubon thought that his bird might be a cross between a Mallard and a Gadwall.
The green on the head, white tail, black rear end, and pale neck ring are good Mallard characters. The gray sides, dark rear end, and intricately patterned chest suggest Gadwall. But does this bird have Mallard in it?