Subject: [Tweeters] Hybrid Ducks Date: Dec 19 13:54:52 2004 From: SGMlod at aol.com - SGMlod at aol.com
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.