Black and White Ducks - ID Please

To: Mike Simpson <>
Subject: Black and White Ducks - ID Please
From: Brian Fleming <>
Date: Thu, 03 Feb 2005 15:54:40 +1100
Mike Simpson wrote:
> For the past couple of weeks there have been a pair of black/white
> ducks on
> the Nepean River at Penrith. One day they were with ducklings, but
> these may
> not have been theirs as there were large rafts of ducks on the river
> that
> day.
> I am assuming these are escapees from a collection somewhere, but
> would
> appreciate learning as to what they are.
> Three pictures at
> Regards - Mike Simpson, Penrith, NSW

Hullo Mike, 
I think they might be domestic Muscovy Ducks, which come black, white or
piebald. Drakes are very large and solid. I am judging by what looks
like reddish wattle above the lefthand bird's bill, and the general
shape. They could be young birds. 
They are of South American origin and while they will mate with other
species, their hybrid offspring are quite sterile. So unlike Mallards,
they are not really a threat.

We once had a neighbour who owned a handsome muscovy drake - black with
green gloss. He had white primaries and a red beak with massive red
wattles on his face. He liked to stand in the middle of our quiet
street, hissing at cars and keeping an eye open for anyone gardening -
he would turn up and beg for all available snails.  This led to a
phone-call from the Dept. of Conservation, to enquire if maybe I was
illegally keeping a Swan.
Fortunately I was able to persuade them that Daffy was not a Swan - I
invited them to come and inspect, but no-one ever did. He once ate 40
garden snails in rapid succession. We stopped feeding him when we
realised that his crop was overflowing.
Anthea Fleming
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