mystery shelduck at WTP, Werribee, Victoria

Subject: mystery shelduck at WTP, Werribee, Victoria
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 12:21:58 +1100
On Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 12:22:29AM +1100,  wrote:
> To me, the most unusual feature of this bird is the bright chestnut
> undertail. Australian Shelducks do not have this, and if this bird
> was an aussie shelduck that couldn't produce black, then surely
> the undertail would appear the mottled brown colour as appears on the
> rest of the bird???
> The tail also appears longer and thinner than an aussie shelducks.

In the group photo with the black swan in the foreground
(, there is
a female Australian Shelduck on the right of the picture also
has a longer, thinner tail than her (mostly male) neighbours.
Ignoring the unusual colouring, I couldn't see any obvious
difference in size, proportion or bearing to the other shelducks
in the photos, so an abberant male(?) Australian Shelduck seems

The colours - except for the undertail - are quite similar
to a male Cape Shelduck (Tadorna cana) based on web photos, e.g.
However, the jizz somehow doesn't feel right to me.  The tail in
many photos of Cape Shelduck appears to be _shorter_ than the
Australian Shelduck, and some (but not all) photos show the
forehead to be very blunt and blocky rather than sloping back
as in Peter's photos.

This website gives measurements for both species, which for the
most part overlap: [sic]
Splitting based on size alone would be difficult without the bird
in the hand (in particular the tarsus measurement), in which case
a DNA sample should clinch it.  :)

A tricky call.

   Paul Taylor                           Veni, vidi, tici -
                    I came, I saw, I ticked.
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