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Thread: An Apparent Mallard X Mottled Duck Hybrid - John Bunker Sands Wetlands 11/24

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    Default An Apparent Mallard X Mottled Duck Hybrid - John Bunker Sands Wetlands 11/24

    I photographed this odd duck at John Bunker Sands Wetland Center in Kaufman County, Texas, November 24. At the time of the flyby I wasn't sure what I had. The duck was dark enough to be a Mottled Duck but many features said Mallard, too. Only back home on the computer screen did I see that it was likely a Mallard X Mottled Duck hybrid. I could only find images on the internet attributable to Mallard crosses with the somewhat lighter plumaged Florida Mottled Duck but not with the darker Louisiana/Texas version of the Mottled Duck. This individual differs from the typical Florida Duck X Mallard hybrid images available as references.

    The bill is the typical bright yellow of male Mallard and Mottled ducks but blending into olive towards the tip. If the black gape mark of the Mottled is present it is not very prominent. The base color of the head is warm tan without noticeable streaking and a dark green crown and nape, not cooler gray with dark streaking as in American Black Duck. The whitish under eye crescent is a deviation from either Mallard or Mottled Duck. The duck has a reduced and indistinct white ring partially around the neck. It's breast is solid dark chestnut as is typical for male mallard but not for the Mallard X Florida Duck images I could find. The sides and belly are the warm dark brown typical of Louisiana/Texas Mottled Ducks rather than the cooler darker sooty brown of American Black Ducks. Another plumage deviation: the side feathers have course and indistinct barring rather than the female-like chevron markings of Mottled Duck or the fine, delicate vermiculations of the male Mallard. The brown color of the body merges into Mallard gray in the vent and femoral areas. The tail area is typical for Mallard with black uppertail and undertail coverts and white retrices. The center uppertail coverts are only partially curled. Legs are orange as is typical for all North American "mallards". The underwings have the striking, contrasting white underwing lining or coverts of both Mottled and American Black Duck but the upper wing resembles Mallard with small variances: the white borders of the blue speculum are reduced, especially the forward bar and the light edges of the lesser and median coverts are more contrasting as in a female of the various species.

    MALLARD X MOTTLED DUCK 1 by k.nanney, on Flickr

    MALLARD X MOTTLED DUCK 2 by k.nanney, on Flickr

    MALLARD X MOTTLED DUCK 3 by k.nanney, on Flickr

    MALLARD X MOTTLED DUCK 4 by k.nanney, on Flickr

    Thanks for viewing.
    Last edited by Y Cymry; 12-05-2017 at 01:37 AM.

    ...and they will see teal, blue-winged, green-winged, shelldrakes, whistlers, black ducks, ospreys, and many other wild and noble sights before night, such as they who sit in parlors never dream of. H. D. Thoreau - A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

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