Ed, one of the things which caused me to pull back a little from my initial
ID of Grey Teal was the iris colour. As I see the irises of the birds in
David's images they don't look anywhere near the bright red of the Grey Teal
irises in my own images. In fact the irises in David's images look more
brown than red to me.
HANZAB describes the colour of the Grey Teal's iris as varying from vivid
crimson-red to dull red in adults of both sexes while it is light brown or
hazel in the juvenile.
In "Wildfowl" (Madge and Burn) the Grey Teal's iris is described as red,
brightest in adult males.
I have photos showing Grey Teal irises ranging from bright red to dull red
which probably covers the range described for adults in HANZAB, however, I
would need to study a colour chart to determine if any of 'my' Grey Teal
have the light brown or hazel irises of juveniles.
HANZAB describes the colour of the Northern Pintail's iris as being
yellow-brown. (I interpret that as being base colour brown with a yellow
In "Wildfowl" (Madge and Burn) the Northern Pintail's iris is described as
being yellowish to brownish-yellow. (I interpret that as being base colour
yellow with a brown caste.)
It seems to me that the common perception of Grey Teal is that they do not
hold their tails as erect as shown in David's images, however, I do have
images of Grey Teal, taken at the same location as David's birds, which are
almost identical in pose to David's birds and those birds, albeit much
healthier and more robust looking, have their tails as erect.
Also, the plumage colours are very similar.
I do lean strongly towards the bird being a Grey Teal but reports of
sightings of Northern Pintails occur in Australia now and then so I think it
is reasonable to consider that species when assessing the ID of a teal which
David Taylor is a very experienced bird observer and a keen and competent
photographer of birds so I am more than prepared to listen when he says
there seemed to be something 'different' about this bird.
But I won't be dashing out to the Lockyer Valley to look for this bird
From: Ed Williams
Sent: Friday, May 04, 2012 8:55 AM
To: david taylor
Cc: Gary Davidson ; Robert Inglis ; birding-aus
Subject: Help with ID on a duck please
One thing I would take note of is the eye colour in the photos - red like a
Grey Teal rather than dark brown like a female Pintail.
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