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Santa Fe, N. M., Sept. 5.  I'm still no good at teal.  Are there any Cinnamon in this picture?

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Española, N. M., Sept. 10.

This female Mallard has a lot of light mottling, seems to me.  Molt, wear, domestic ancestry, just a weird Mallard?

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This one has no or hardly any yellow on its bill.  I have four choices at eBird: Mallard, Mallard (domestic), Mallard/Mexican Duck, Mallard x Mexican Duck.  I think maybe I'm supposed to call it Mallard/Mexican unless I have no reason to suspect Mexican ancestry.  Also, male or female or can't tell?

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They actually seemed to know each other.

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Edited by Jerry Friedman

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All of the teal look like Blue-winged to me. The pale female Mallard -- I honestly have no idea how to distinguish distant domestic ancestry from odd "wild-type" plumages. The others -- I have no idea -- I'm actually surprised e-bird's treating them separately, given that the AOU rejected that proposal.

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4 hours ago, psweet said:

All of the teal look like Blue-winged to me. The pale female Mallard -- I honestly have no idea how to distinguish distant domestic ancestry from odd "wild-type" plumages. The others -- I have no idea -- I'm actually surprised e-bird's treating them separately, given that the AOU rejected that proposal.

Thanks, psweet, and thanks for the bumps, Charlie.  Apparently eBird was convinced.  "Genetic divergence of Mexican Duck from Mallard is at comparable levels to other similar taxa that are recognized as species, such as American Black Duck Anas rubripes and Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula and hybridization between Mallard and Mexican Duck has not been demonstrated to occur at higher levels than between Mallard and other species in the Mallard complex. AOS-NACC did recently consider this proposal but did not elect to split."  However, they didn't provide any guidance on reporting that I know of.  I ended up reporting the dark duck as Mallard, which I assume includes domestic types, and the pale one as Mallard/Mexican Duck, which seems to indicate the greatest uncertainty on my part.

(Of course the AOU even had to change its own name.)

Edited by Jerry Friedman

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It wasn't e-bird that was convinced. They follow Clements. The odd thing about that is that they themselves state that Clements normally follows the AOU for western hemisphere species, with exceptions usually for those species for which the N. American and S. American committees disagree. But neither Mallard nor Mexican Duck is on the S. American list, so there's no disagreement, and in fact Mexican Duck isn't found in any other part of the world but N. America. (I'm using the inclusive version of the term, that the N. American Checklist Committee uses, including most of Central America.) So I still fail to see the rationale. (Incidentally, I've read the proposal -- I think I'm in favor of e-bird's treatment, but there are valid reasons for standardizing taxonomic treatments, and this seems to fly in the face of those reasons.) Ah, well, it's not our call....

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45 minutes ago, psweet said:

It wasn't e-bird that was convinced. They follow Clements. The odd thing about that is that they themselves state that Clements normally follows the AOU for western hemisphere species, with exceptions usually for those species for which the N. American and S. American committees disagree. But neither Mallard nor Mexican Duck is on the S. American list, so there's no disagreement, and in fact Mexican Duck isn't found in any other part of the world but N. America. (I'm using the inclusive version of the term, that the N. American Checklist Committee uses, including most of Central America.) So I still fail to see the rationale. (Incidentally, I've read the proposal -- I think I'm in favor of e-bird's treatment, but there are valid reasons for standardizing taxonomic treatments, and this seems to fly in the face of those reasons.) Ah, well, it's not our call....

Interesting.  I thought the whole point of Clements was that it followed the AOS.

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Clements is a worldwide checklist, so for Europe, Asia, etc. there's no AOS checklist to follow. But this does seem out of character, which is why I'm still confused about it.

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Sorry, that's what I meant.  I thought the point of Clements was that it's a worldwide checklist that follows the AOS for birds of the Americas.  So I join your confusion.

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The first pic has a Green-winged Teal -- note the strong eyeline, the very different feather patterning below, and the pale triangle under the tail.  All of the Mallards look fine for Mallard.  Females in alternate plumage and juvs (which start with black bills) have darker plumage than do basic-plumaged females.  The adult female is quite worn -- she's been wearing that plumage since about March.  Domestic-type Mallards are, virtually to a bird, larger and larger-butted than "wild-type" Mallards.

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On 9/19/2018 at 8:26 PM, Tony Leukering said:

The first pic has a Green-winged Teal -- note the strong eyeline, the very different feather patterning below, and the pale triangle under the tail.  All of the Mallards look fine for Mallard.  Females in alternate plumage and juvs (which start with black bills) have darker plumage than do basic-plumaged females.  The adult female is quite worn -- she's been wearing that plumage since about March.  Domestic-type Mallards are, virtually to a bird, larger and larger-butted than "wild-type" Mallards.

Thanks for the help with the Mallards!

I'm stumped on the teal.  The one with really different patterning below is the male at the lower left, but I can't see it as a Green-wing.  Of the other three, it can't be the one on the right because you can't see the tail.  The one at the left middle has different patterning below from the other two--short wiggly lines instead of dark spots--but seems to me to have a weaker eyeline than the one at the top.  And I can't see a pale triangle under the tail on any of them.  So which one is the Green-winged Teal?

Edited by Jerry Friedman

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