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von Humboldt

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Everything posted by von Humboldt

  1. I believe both birds are males. top bird – I believe this is a pure mottled duck based on the shortness of the eyeline and the lack of white on the tail. Some of those tail feathers are rather light but I believe that is due to overexposure and no true whiteness. Also, it's a nice gape spot although hybrids often show some type of gape spot. However, I believe it is also a male and therefore it shows absolutely no indication of mallard genes. Being from south Louisiana originally, I have extensive experience with the Texas – Louisiana subspecies (whose bills are essentially indistinguishable from a female mallard) and my experience with the Florida subspecies is limited. I know the Florida subspecies female can have a mallard- like Bill or a drab olive greenish yellow bill. To my knowledge, I've never seen a mottled (or a black duck) with that yellow of a bill identified as a female. Nobody could convince me it's a female other than Tony Luekering. Bottom bird – although it would be unusual for a mallard to show any eclipse plumage this time of year , if it were a juvenile in a late brood it's possible. Also, the pattern on the head is a little splotchy which is more like the transition from eclipse to breeding plumage. I agree that is most likely a hybrid with three quarters or more mallard ancestry but I wouldn't rule out later eclipse juvenile.
  2. The markers I mentioned in my post are two that are easily seen and generally indicative. One for mallard is white tail feathers. However I suggest you check the Tony Leukering article to identify specific birds. https://s3.amazonaws.com/is-ebird-wordpress-prod-s3/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/eBird_Muddled_Ducks.pdf
  3. Both of those ducks have clear gape spots so they are not pure mallard. Also, the eyeline doesn't extend as far back as you would expect on pure mallard. The duck on the right appears to be a male because the yellow bill color and I would expect this time of year to see some green or gray starting to show as he phases into normal plumage. I don't much that looks like a mallard.
  4. Recently fledged ( dull bill, scruffy feathers) female MALL is my guess
  5. The duck has a clear gape spot in the first photo so it definitely has mottled duck in it. The eyeline seems to be too long to be a pure mottled, it almost touches the darker plumage of the crown. Therefore, I would say it has to be a hybrid.
  6. While Charlie does know all things Southern Birding and articulates them in a witty, humorous way, his knowledge of decking does not appear to be as extensive. Most all pressure-treated decking today is 5/4" X 6" (actual dimensions 1 x 5 1/2). Unless the OP tells us differently, we should assume that decking is 5 1/2 inches wide.
  7. Being from the South, I'm not seen many juvenile mallards. However, looking at the second photo, it appears to be the normal expected bill color of a male (bird in front) developing into yellow but not old enough with enough hormones to show a bright bill. The second bird is developing a normal orange with black saddle splotches for female. I do see a lot of immature wood ducks and it's easy to see and watch that beautiful male bill slowly appear and go from dull to bold which is happening in these young mallards. It would be an early hatch to be this far a long at this time but ducks have a fairly long "breeding window". I hope this answers your question I'm sure Tony Luekering can give a clearer more complete answer
  8. Short eyeline. pale edge to tail coverts. yellow bill. Looks good for pure Male Mottled
  9. Intersex plumage in ducks (and other birds) is caused by a female who is not producing sufficient estrogen. This is usually caused by damaged or aging ovaries. When there is only a slight deficiency of estrogen the first sign usually seen is a curling of the tail with no plumage color change . As the estrogen level decreases the feathers revert to more indications of male plumage. Although never in person, I've seen pictures where the estrogen level is so low the bill becomes more yellow so that it is a yellowish orange but still has black splotches. A few months ago someone on here linked website with a picture showing a bill that was almost the proper yellow with only a slight orangeish tint. So what I was trying to say is an intersex bird with enough estrogen loss to affect the bill at all should show a completely "male" tail. Of course all birds are different so I guess you couldn't 100% rule out intersex, but I would say the chances are 1 % or less.
  10. This seems like the most logical answer (or even F3 plus). The tail feathers are only slightly curled supporting the other plumage indicators mentioned. It's the wrong time of year for eclipse. I don't think you can have an intersex plumage Mallard with a bill that yellow, especially since the tail feathers are only slightly curled and curled tail is usually one of the very first signs of intersex.
  11. Based on the body coloring and the clearly defined white neck, the Snow must have contributed blue morph genes.
  12. I've never seen the bill significantly change color, nor have I ever seen a male (based on bill color) exhibit intersex plumage unless molt related. I have seen one picture on this site of a female who exhibited extensive male plumage and her bill was slightly yellowish orange, but ever so slightly, and the black splotches were still prominent. Sometimes the change in the female plumage is just an upturned curly tail. I believe a mallard is the only duck I've seen with intersex plumage so it must be extremely rare in other ducks.
  13. I agree it is in most likely Mallard x Black Duck back crossed with Mallard at least once. I'm basing that on the pattern on the head and the very slight evidence of "camouflage" plumage that can be seen on the rest of the body. Also, the tail doesn't appear to be curled as much as on a pure Mallard. But, I guess you cant completely rule out a male Mallard (probably the first year) that has some type of dietary or hormonal deficiency although I don't know how likely something like that would be.
  14. I don't believe that is a mallard x black duck cross because the head is usually green on the top and I really don't see any black duck coloring. A mallard with intersex plumage (I don't like to call it an intersex bird because the sex has not changed) is almost invariably a female with estrogen damage and her female camouflaging effect is diminished. This is definitely a male bird based on the yellow bill color. The bill looks a little dull for a pure male mallard this time of year but that could be an artifact. I'll take a wild guess and say this could be an American wigeon 1/4 x mallard 3/4. The green on the head is bright and shiny in the area a wigeon would have green. Also, there's something about the sides and back that seemed to have the tint of a widgeon color and really nothing indicating female Mallard plumage. Could be domestic genes. I really don't know much about domestics and their variations The opinion of others and the truth could differ.
  15. the duck has an orange and black bill. It's a female mallard with lack of estrogen.
  16. orange legs and orange & black bill that's not Shoveler size means female mallard plus the white tail confirms it
  17. Location: Ferndale, California approximately 100 miles south of the Oregon border in the Eel River Valley 4 miles from Pacific Ocean. Habitat: edge of small town long-established residential backing up to creek and agricultural pasture. Taken 1/22/21
  18. I believe that bill is an example of an intersex mallard i.e. it has color characteristics intermediate of the male and the female. The mallard female's lack of estrogen causes the dominant male pattern of color in the plumage and other body parts to appear to some degree (in some birds it's the male's lack of testosterone that causes intermediate plumage). In mallards, it's not that rare to see this phenomenon to some extent. I haven't seen one where the female's orange and black bill has been turned almost as yellow as a males bill, with only a little orange and a few speckles of black "bleeding" through. However, that's what appears to have happened here. Here is a picture I found googling "intersex mallard" that has a bill that seems to have a diminished amount of black and a yellowish tint especially at the base. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68000324
  19. I agree with the Bird Nuts. What's interesting about that duck is the bill. Intersex plumage mallards are usually females with old or injured ovaries. The bill is usually clearly female but that bird is the first I've seen with an "intersex bill"
  20. Maybe I don't realize how much white Mexican can have on its tail. I haven't seen them except on two trips to northern Mexico 30 years ago. I'm very familiar with mottled ducks and I guess I am "projecting" tail expectations from them. What I mean is that much white on a Mottled ducks tail in January would indicate distant MALL genes. And then there's the lighting. Jerry, I completely agree with this statement from your second post I'd want much better pictures than this to argue for a pure Mexican. Also, I think the tail's pretty light for a pure Mexican, and the breast is a bit darker and less mottled than the rest of the body, which I think are good for a hybrid.
  21. Okay I'll give my opinion. The yellow bill lets us know it's a male. And the general plumage means it has to be mostly a Mexican duck or Mottled duck. The overall plumage really isn't a darker dusky brown like a Mottled, but more like a female mallard and Tex/La Mottled ducks don't like to be more than 100 miles away from the Gulf of Mexico, so it's (at least mostly) Mexican duck. As for the mallard ancestry, the tale is not curled at all and if it were a 50/50 hybrid it should be. However, it does look like the tail is whitish on top and the rear back grayish. Also that chest sure seems to have a mallard chestnut tint to it. Hard to say anything definitive due to the lighting. Given that everybody seems to say there are extremely few, if any, pure Mexicans left and the above-mentioned subtle Mallard appearances- I would say it is an intergrade with less than 25% Mallard. Of course other opinions could differ.
  22. The male on the right has an incomplete but definite white crescent and a red or at least reddish eye. I would say that means it's a hybrid. I agree the bill on the female looks like a cinnamon teal but I don't know the slight variations in facial pattern well enough to make a definite call.
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