Help with ID on a duck please

To: "'Tony Keene'" <>, <>
Subject: Help with ID on a duck please
From: "Jeff Davies" <>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2012 14:40:21 +1000
I have come late to this, but I notice that nobody has suggested that this bird 
is juvenile. Note the dull eye colour, small body feathers and most 
significantly the lack of a full set of flight feathers which have just stated 
to grow in simultaneously.
So juvenile Grey Teal for mine.

Cheers Jeff.


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Tony Keene
Sent: Friday, 4 May 2012 12:20 PM
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Help with ID on a duck please

I'm on the side of the Grey Tealists - for me, the head is too square, the beak 
too short and not quite tapering enough, the neck is not as thin and long in 
any of the photos as I would expect.  As Ed mentioned, the eye is also the 
wrong colour.  A major point for me is that while the tail does look pointed, 
the pattern of how the feathers are arranged looks wrong - in Northern 
Pintails, the central tail feather is clearly longer, while this looks quite 
different.  I think it's just the lack of flight feathers that's really 
accentuating the tail.
Overall, I'd say Grey Teal.
As Nikolas said, hybrids are well-studied in northern ducks, but new and 
interesting ones are always popping up as ornamental ducks escape and start 
interbreeding.  If I wanted to be facetious, I'd ask if there were any 
free-roaming Yellow-billed Pintails in the area, as the plumage and tail are a 
little similar...


On 04/05/2012 09:30, Nikolas Haass wrote:
> Hi all,
> I am also one of these Northern Hemispherians, who have seen tens of 
> thousands of Northern Pintails in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. 
> Confirming others, neither jizz, plumage colour nor bare part colour "make 
> it" a Northern Pintail or any of the other pintails. The jizz clearly 
> indicates one of the teals - the only ID contenders are Grey Teal, Sunda Teal 
> or Chestnut Teal and - if you want to stretch it - Cape Teal. To me the bird 
> still looks like a Grey Teal.
> The infamous "H" word is however not so infamous in Anas, Aythya, Anser and 
> Branta. However, most Northern Hemisphere hybrid combinations appear to be 
> well-studied and I cannot find any that looks that similar to Grey Teal as 
> David's bird. As so often, the Southern Hemisphere is not so well covered in 
> many studies. So, I still can't rule out a hybrid 100%. But again, I still 
> think it is a Grey Teal.
> Cheers,
> Nikolas
> ----------------
> Nikolas Haass
> Sydney, NSW
> ________________________________
>   From: Robert Inglis<>
> To: Birding-Aus<>
> Sent: Thursday, May 3, 2012 9:18 PM
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Help with ID on a duck please
> With reference to David Taylor’s very interesting question about the 
> ‘strange’ duck he saw on the University of Queensland campus out there at 
> Gatton in the Lockyer Valley in SE Queensland (an area which was devastated 
> by, unprecedented in white man’s time, floods last year) I would like to ask 
> a question with the following context in mind.
> Although I have been birdwatching for nearly 40 years I have never come to 
> grips with moult. Although I have been photographing birds for most of that 
> time and some of the most expert people in Australia have been very patiently 
> trying to educate me in the understanding of moult I seem to be too dumb (or 
> too old) to take it all in. I’m tempted to give those people names but I 
> really shouldn't embarrass them so I won’t. But I say to them “Don’t give 
> up.” I love youse all.
> Anyhow..........
> The question is:
> Why is David Taylor’s ‘strange’ bird not a Northern Pintail female undergoing 
> moult of the primaries and, possibly, the secondaries – as has been suggested?
> Is it because it is in Queensland? (Oh, that is facetious, Bob and should be 
> struck from the records).
> I have not yet seen a pintail of any description so I am clutching at straws 
> here but I have consulted “Wildfowl” by Steve Madge and Hilary Burn as well 
> as HANZAB (we all know what that is, don’t we?). Having done so it seems to 
> me that there is a possibility, small though it might be, that David, et all, 
> has found something very ‘interesting’.
> Why isn’t David’s bird a Northern Pintail female undergoing moult of the 
> primaries and, as it has been suggested, the secondaries?
> In asking this question, I am hoping that those birders who have had 
> extensive experience with observing Northern Pintails will respond. After 
> all, the majority of Australian birdwatchers with experience of northern 
> hemisphere birds come from...............the northern hemisphere. At least 
> that is my observation. A few Australian boundary-ed birdwatchers probably 
> only see one or two Northern Pintails in their entire life. As I said, I 
> haven’t seen any and I confine my observations to the mainland of Australia.
> I realize the shortcomings of digital photography (having been involved with 
> it for 11 years) and therefore I understand why David’s images vary in the 
> colours of the plumage of this bird but, understanding those technicalities, 
> I can see, as David saw, that this bird is ‘different’ to the average Grey 
> Teal. My initial reaction was that it is always wise to not look for a rarity 
> and to simply look for an aberration when observing something which looks 
> ‘different’. My experience at that location is that the common ducks include 
> Grey Teal so that is what I initially advised David . However, further 
> consideration encouraged me to suggest that this bird might, only might, be 
> something else.
> As I read it, David’s bird might have a rufous wash over the head and the 
> iris might be somewhat different in colour to that of Grey Teal. If so that 
> could indicate Northern Pintail female.
> Not Northern Pintail juvenile as the plumage is quite different.
> In the course of education (of me in particular) I would like those birders 
> who have had experience with Northern Pintail females (from an observer’s 
> point of view) to come forward and voice an opinion.
> Is that too much to ask?
> Please understand that I am not being critical of anyone but simply wanting 
> to ensure that an opportunity is not missed.
> I don’t mind if I am proven to be way of track here.
> A ‘proverb’ from the latest book I am reading “In advising a friend, 
> seek to help, not please”. (The good Book – a secular bible- by AC 
> Grayling)
> Bob Inglis
> Sandstone Point
> Qld
> (my new and expanded website – still a 
> work in progress so please forgive the errors and omissions)
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