Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Day 80 - Heavenly Hybrid Ducks

Unknown Hybrid Duck (Mysterious duckus)
Possibly a domesticated mallard?
Unknown Hybrid Duck (Quakus unknonus)
Have you ever seen a duck that doesn't quite fit in with the other ducks or any ducks in your ID Guide? Well you could have seen a hybrid! Of all the birds, waterfowl (ducks) are the most likely of all birds to hybridise.

Hi all today's Day 80 and as it is a very small milestone, I thought I'd do a blog on birds, but not as you know them. I will be doing I post on ducks, but not normal ducks, hybrid ducks. I saw all of the birds that you can see on the right at RSPB Fairburn Ings in Yorkshire. They all caught my eye because they looked completely different to the rest of them. My favourite is the white and light-brown one that has a very large tuft on the top of its head. Hybrid Ducks are ludicrously hard to identify so if anyone has any idea of what the birds to the right are, then please comment or tweet me. Like I said I my favourite duck is the one in the middle of the three. Anyway, I think it's about time to put in the facts. Before I do, though, I want to say that I won't be able to put in things like; size, RSPB Status and that sort of thing because it will vary so much in what hybrid it is:

  • When two different birds mate, their off-spring will be a hybrid that can look either exactly like one of its parents or completely different!
    Unknown Hybrid Duck (Haveus noideaus)
  • Sometimes a hybrid off-spring can go on to mate with other birds and produce more hybrid ducks. This is called a successful hybrid mating. However, some hybrid ducks are not able to mate and are therefore infertile causing an unsuccessful hybrid mating.
  • The mallard is the most common duck to partake in cross-species breeding. It is estimated that there are about 50 hybrids that include a mallard and I am pretty sure that the top and bottom pictures include a mallard.
  • Although apparently hybrid ducks are mostly bigger than their parents, they can even have a goose as a parent and therefore can be much, much bigger than a standard duck. One of the biggest hybrid results is probably a goose x swan hybrid or a Swoose!
  • The most likely ducks to breed with a mallard are:
  1. Pintail
  2. Tufted Duck 
  3. Wigeon
Note that wasn't in any particular order.

As an example, a mallard mating with a Muscovy duck will normally produce a pied (black and white) off-spring.

Here are some links about these strange but wonderful combinations:

Hope you enjoyed,


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