Simon Walker's picture

Unrecognised Duck

Observed: 19th April 2012 By: Simon WalkerSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in Birds
Unknown Duck, Rye Meads, 2012-04-19 reduced 002
Unknown Duck, Rye Meads, 2012-04-19 reduced 003

This may be some sort of Mallard cross; I really don't know.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) interacts


David Gibbs's picture


Simon Walker's picture

Thanks, David

Looking at the first site you listed, there are some birds that are pretty near identical. I had a feeling that there was something about the teal there, especially the breast.
I've never seen this cross before though.

David Gibbs's picture


"there are some pics on Google tat are identical."

can you please provide link, i could not find any exactly like this one. Also how do you so confidently exclude Green-winged Teal x Mallard or even Baikal Teal x Mallard?

Simon Walker's picture

Not Sure Where We Are With This One.

Or indeed who's who! Who's Scott?

The link I looked at was this one:

and paged down. I just looked at again, and it still looks pretty good to me.

Ruling out Green-winged Teal or Baikal Teal isn't easy; they may both be possibilities. But the Green-winged Teal is supposedly a North American bird, and the Baikal Teal is Eastern Russian.

It's possible that either bird could be involved, but I imagine they'd be escapees. The Eurasian Teal/Mallard cross seems far more likely to me, because there are lots of them around.

I think Occam's Razor can be applied: "other things being equal, a simpler explanation is better than a more complex one." (Paraphrased).

David Gibbs's picture


Scott is the person who had identified your bird at a Common Teal x Mallard (Anas crecca x Anas platyrhynchos) "as sure as I can be" = beyond reasonable doubt (the highest level of confidence possible on ispot). My query was to him as he states he found "identical" birds on line.

The link you post is the same one i posted, the birds here are a good fit but none are identical. The best fit is a GW Teal x Mallard hybrid. GW Teal is an American species but there are dozens of them around Europe, i saw one last week. Most are likely to be wild birds, but impossible to know, either way they find themselves in a place with few mates so hybridising must be frequent.

RoyW's picture

Green-winged versus Common Teal.

Unless the bird showed signs of a vertical white stripe on the fore-flanks I don't see any way that Green-winged Teal, Anas (crecca) carolinesis could be identified as one of the parents instead of Common Teal Anas (crecca) crecca.

Hybrids like these are very variable with respect to the extent of the yellow patches on the face, and are also variable in some other ways. It is likely that both Green-winged & Common Teal x Mallard hybrids could look like this bird.

WilliamB's picture


If you're that keen on hybrids. Go to Shipley in Derbyshire. It's got far too many! You look at something you think is a mallard, and it's a hybrid. Probably a farm yard duck cross. If it carries on, we're going to lose all the naturals.


RoyW's picture

What about Mallard x Eurasian Wigeon?

The fairly large white rear flank patch before the black undertail, is more similar to Mallard x Eurasian Wigeon hybrids - but the structure of this bird does make it look like teal like. What size was it? A similar hybrid that has recently been at Rye Meads does look like Mallard x Teal (or Mallard x Gadwall)

I think that I'll try and go and have a look on Monday!

The pale yellow patches on the face, that make this type of hybrid bear a resemblance to Baikal Teal, are often seen in a variety of hybrids (including Mallard x any one of Teal, Gadwall, and Eurasian Wigeon).

Edit: I've found a couple more photos of this bird online, and it looks like it's a bit smaller than a Gadwall, + in other photos the white on the flanks doesn't look quite as extensive.
Mallard x Teal is looking like a pretty reasonable ID (it's rarely possible to be certain of the parentage of hybrids seen in the wild). The 'jizz' looks more like Teal as well in the other photos.

2nd Edit: The amount of brown in the upperparts is interesting on this bird. Hybrids like this are seemingly often 'intersex', and I wonder if that might be the case with this one.
In would be worth posting the photos in the flikcr hybrid birds group - Joern's opinion would definitely be worth hearing.

Simon Walker's picture


I thought about the viability of such birds, and wondered whether they could breed. If they are "intersex" then presumably they wouldn't be viable.
I don't know what the flikr hybrids bird group is, but they're welcome to look at any pictures of mine if it gets an answer!

RoyW's picture

Flickr group...

The flickr hybrid birds group is the one that David linked to in the first comment here.

Anyone with a Flickr account can join the group and then post photos for discussion. If you don't have a Flickr account I would be happy to post your photos for discussion there - if you give permission of course!

Simon Walker's picture

Go for it, Roy!

I don't have a Flickr account. I have enough trouble keeping track of all the accounts I DO have!