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Male American Black Duck or female Mallard?

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  • Male American Black Duck or female Mallard?

    Saw 2 male mallards next to 2 other brown ducks. Thought they might be female mallards at first but after taking a second look I thought they might be 2 male american black ducks as the bills are more yellow/green than orange (mallard) and have that little dark blotch at the tip, their body color in general looks a little darker than a female mallard too?
    Spotted October 17, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.
    www.wildlifesightings.net
    Bird & Wildlife Sightings Citizen Science

  • #2
    Hi!

    I think you're right with your reassessment that these are male American Black Ducks rather than female Mallards. You've picked up on one key feature already - the greenish-yellow (rather than rather unevenly patterned orange) bills. Also note the really sharp cut-off between the grey-brown of the throat and the rich dark brown of the breast; the pale grey around the shafts of the tertials; the fairly even blackness of what we can see of the uppertail coverts and rump. All of these point to American Black Duck. One easy-to-see feature that's always useful in distinguishing between the two species is whether there is any white in the outer tail - Mallard in all plumages always has some and Black Duck doesn't.

    So ... Black Ducks!

    Russ Heselden

    www.russheselden.co.uk

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    • #3
      Are they both wearing red/orangish rings on their left legs?

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      • #4
        There is no question these are american black ducks. However as shearwater2002 pointed out, the birds seemed ringed toward the top of their legs (An orange ring) which would imply they are possibly escapees.

        Did you notice a ring on the ducks?

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        • #5
          Guys, not sure these are going to be escapes in Canada. Looks like water playing tricks on the eyes.
          Josh Jones
          http://joshrjones.blogspot.co.uk/

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Josh Jones View Post
            Guys, not sure these are going to be escapes in Canada. Looks like water playing tricks on the eyes.
            I was merely pointing out that they look ringed to me.....with around 13000 Black Ducks around Nova Scotia I wasn't questioning if they were escapes!!


            ...although.....as the birds appear to be photographed at close range...from above....they could be 'park' birds!!
            Last edited by shearwater2002; January 1st, 2012, 01:02 PM.

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            • #7
              It's just water refraction playing tricks, no rings there.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MichaelF View Post
                It's just water refraction playing tricks, no rings there.
                It's very hard to tell for sure if there are rings on the birds, refraction would explain the situation.

                I was not saying they were escapees anyway, just pointing out if the birds were ringed it is possible they were escapees.

                And with so many A-B Ducks in Nova Scotia the likelihood would be the birds are completely feral and of no captive origin whatsoever.

                Conclusion: The Birds are WILD AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS!

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