mg6697's picture

Female mallard and friend

Observed: 17th March 2010 By: mg6697
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
mg6697’s reputation in Birdsmg6697’s reputation in Birds
P3170025
Description:

White duck now has a lady friend. He's been alone on the icy canal all winter.Is he a white mallard?

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Mallard duck interacts

Comments

anonymous spotter's picture

Hybrid Mallard

Mallards hybridise with other ducks, including escaped white domestic ones. I suspect that's what you have here.
For some excellent stuff on mallard crosses, have a look at -
http://10000birds.com/hybrid-mallards.htm

RoyW's picture

It's not strictly a hybrid...

The male duck in the photo is a 'call duck' type Mallard breed (or a Mallard crossed with this type of breed) - the small head and bill are typical call duck features.
Hybrids (like the birds in the link given above) tend to be the offspring produced when two different species mate.
Domestic forms of Mallard often breed with each other, and wild Mallards, but because they are all the same species they are not really hybrids (in the same way that crosses between two breeds of dog are not hybrids).
Domestic Mallard breeds are covered in detail here: http://10000birds.com/manky-mallards-domestic-feral-or-just-plain-odd-ma...

anonymous spotter's picture

Being picky

Hybrid is a term that can also be used for crosses between "populations, breeds or cultivars within a single species". But you're probably right that it's best avoided for situations like this. The term "manky mallards" isn't half bad!

RoyW's picture

You are (of course) correct.

I can't argue with that, even if I wanted to. Perhaps it was me that was being picky - is there a word that specifically refers to inter-species hybrids?
'Manky Mallard' does sum up most of the strange ducks that turn up on ponds and park lakes pretty well though!