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Small Bird in Water ID?


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2 hours ago, rayh said:

Great.  Is it a juvenile?  It seems to be half the size of a Mallard.

I highly recommend reading Tony's reference article as they are excellent (but if you don't this is an adult female - brown eye, two tone bill and too early for a juvenile to look like this).

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33 minutes ago, RobinHood said:

I highly recommend reading Tony's reference article as they are excellent (but if you don't this is an adult female - brown eye, two tone bill and too early for a juvenile to look like this).

I've read the article but it got me more confused than ever.  I'll leave the ID's to the expert.  Thanks for the information everyone.

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On 6/16/2021 at 4:42 PM, RobinHood said:

an adult female

 

On 6/16/2021 at 6:26 PM, Peromyscus said:

adult female

Thanks, all, but no.  Adult females have obvious crests and typically have darker eyes. Birds like the poster's and this one and this one, and this one are possibly one-year-olds, and might be of either sex. The replacement of juv plumage in HOME is often very delayed.

However, another good possibility is that those birds are just a week or two older than the youngsters in the adult female pic linked above. Such HOME often show up in summer in places where there were no known breeding HOME, so it seems as if youngsters can move quite early. Given the clean paler fringes to many of the feathers on the poster's bird, I think that it may well be a juvenile, as one-year-olds' feathering should be quite worn if they haven't initiated the molt out of juv plumage.

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On 6/16/2021 at 2:29 PM, rayh said:

Is it a juvenile?  It seems to be half the size of a Mallard.

From Sibley (2nd ed.): Hooded Merganser: length - 14"; weight - 1.4 lbs.; Mallard: length - 23"; weight - 2.4 lbs.

Except in a small number of avian groups, once a bird can fly, it is as large as it's ever going to be, at least in length.

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I would like to offer the following evidence in defence of my opinion🙂.

9 hours ago, Tony Leukering said:

Adult females have obvious crests and typically have darker eyes.

I took it that this bird had been diving which had flattened the crest as in the example of an adult female below, although looking at it again the hood does look somewhat thin. My references and personal experience have the eyes getting lighter with age, going from a dark brown to a lighter brown for females and yellow for males, but I don't think this is too reliable for a field mark as it depends on the lighting at the time.

https://ebird.org/media/catalog?taxonCode=hoomer&sort=rating_rank_desc&searchField=user&includeUnconfirmed=T&sex=f&species=Hooded Merganser - Lophodytes cucullatus&age=a

9 hours ago, Tony Leukering said:

another good possibility is that those birds are just a week or two older than the youngsters in the adult female pic linked above

Possibly more like three or four weeks? I had discounted juvenile because of how advanced this bird is but it probably matches the Mallard juveniles I posted in another thread which looked to be close to a month ahead of all the other local birds.

I also thought the tail length suggested an adult bird rather than juvenile or even 1st year. If the bird was alone this would presumably discount juvenile?.

I rest my case.

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