Saturday, January 19, 2019

Black Duck

On 17 January 2019, I visited the Superior Ave Pond here in Northfield. To my surprise, a bit of open water still remains. Mostly I listed a mountain of Canada Geese, perhaps 500. Among them loafed a large number of Mallards. I searched the melee for American Black Ducks. I was delighted to find a few.
Black Ducks differ from female Mallards in a number of respects. The throat of a Black Duck is grayish and streaked. The throat also contrasts markedly from the dark breast. Furthermore, its olive bill is relatively unmarked, unlike a Mallard's yellowish, splotchy bill. You can see the difference in the third photo. (A male Mallard has a clear, yellowish bill, like the one in the forth picrture.) American Black Ducks are interesting birds, as I have previously posted.
Two white, domestic ducks swam among the geese and Mallards. Almost all domestic ducks are derived from Mallards. Feral populations of domestic ducks are a relatively common encounter. White birds often breed back with wild ones. Although often free flying like the birds I found, domestic ducks can not be included on birders’ checklists. There are rules about GMOs, you know.

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