Leucistic plumaged Pacific Black Duck..

To: "Michael Ramsey" <>, <>
Subject: Leucistic plumaged Pacific Black Duck..
From: "Hugo Phillipps" <>
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2004 17:56:10 +1000
Hi Michael -
A few years ago, when doing regular (weekly) waterbird counts at Albert Park Lake in Melbourne, there were some apparently similarly coloured birds for a while.  I am sure that many other people on Birding-Aus must have noticed them.  They were definitely Black Duck x domestic (Mallard derived) hybrids, as I followed them from when they were ducklings being ushered around by a Black Duck and all-white domestic duck pair (female and male respectively, from memory).  The brood of downy ducklings was mixed, with some being of normal BD colouration and some noticeably paler.
The paler ones grew up to fledge into the plumage you describe and, apart from the colouration, were like normal BDs - same size and able to fly strongly.  Subsequently at least one of these hybrids paired off with a Black Duck and produced ducklings which all looked like standard BDs to me.  I do have a photograph of one of the hybrids somewhere which I could try to dig out sometime.
This does not mean that the bird you saw was not a leucistic pure BD, but the hybrid theory is plausible.

Hugo Phillipps
Queenscliff, Vic
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