Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mottled Duck

Next to the American White Pelican of my last post swam two Mottled Ducks. In fact, I took the liberty to Photoshop out a coupe of pelican body parts in this photograph. The species is found along the Gulf coast, form northern Mexico across to southern Florida.

These ducks are probably a pair. Most Mottled Ducks are paired by the November prior to their nesting. Mottled Ducks are seasonally monogamous, but only females incubate the eggs. Although a few males remain to help brood the young, most males depart during incubation. The females lead the hatchlings to shallow wetlands to begin their independent lives (Bielefeld et al. 2010).

In Florida Mottled Ducks are imperiled by hybridization with feral Mallards. Conservation education efforts are underway to keep people from releasing domestic Mallards into the wild. Otherwise the danger exists that Mallard genes will end the Mottled Duck as a distinct species.

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