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mfoster.vt

Ruddy ducks in NC

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More distant birds.  These were diving ducks and the only thing I can think of is Ruddy ducks, but I'm not positive.  Hopefully the pics are good enough for ID.  I had to enhance the photos to pick up details, so the colors might be off slightly.

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I don't see them too often but looks good.

The orange circles at the base of the bill, especially in the last photo, are interesting but possibly due to the editing you mentioned.

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Thanks Robinhood.  That orange at the base of the bill has me confused as well.  It might be a little enhanced with the editing, but I'm sure it was there even in the unenhanced photos.  That's why I wasn't sure about Ruddy.

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The proportions look good, esp. the bill almost as long as the head.  The head colors would seem to be non-breeders or maybe females, as do the body colors.

See this flock from AAB:

Ruddy Duck Flock

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I did a quick search and hybrids do occur (mainly with White-headed Duck it seems).

One or two of the hybrid images have that ruddy colour on the head, somewhat similar to a Masked Duck (so it may not be unusual, just doesn't appear in my guides) although I am not sure if that fully qualifies them to be classified as a hybrid.

If we wait maybe an expert will come along.

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4 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

The head colors would seem to be non-breeders or maybe females, as do the body colors.

Excellent Charlie. Strange that my guides don't show this.

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Ah.  Now that I'm on a 24" monitor and not a tablet, I can see the orange y'all were talking about on the heads.  I can't find any Ruddy images that show that.

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Any Ruddy Duck with an unmarked pale cheek is a male. The other three age-sex classes all fit in the stripe-cheeked appearance. Immature males conduct their preformative/first prealternate molt Oct-Mar, so most imm males should look like males by now.

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