Re: Information & ID of a Duck?

To: 'Geoffrey Dabb' <>, 'Alison' <>, "" <>
Subject: Re: Information & ID of a Duck?
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Sat, 12 May 2018 08:25:29 +0000

Yes. Worth noting that Muscovy Ducks have also been bred into many varieties but as far as I know they are entirely separate from the Mallard types and Mallard hybrids. They look very different also. I don’t know whether the food industry treats them as separate. I believe that male Muscovy Ducks will aggressively try to mate with whatever other species of ducks they may encounter and also chickens and turkeys and quite likely small dogs and cats and whatever else that moves and is about the right size but such matings do not lead to fertile offspring.


I also learned somewhere that although male baby ducks will get imprinted on and prefer to mate with something like their real (or foster) mother, females instinctively recognise and prefer to mate with their own species. Of course I don’t know if that is universally true but if it is the typical, it will act to reduce hybridisation (but not prevent it).




From: Geoffrey Dabb [
Sent: Saturday, 12 May, 2018 9:10 AM
To: Alison;
Subject: FW: [canberrabirds] Re: Information & ID of a Duck?


Thanks Alison.  I’m guessing you had trouble getting that to the chatline for size reasons.  Good point and worth resending with one less pic I think.


As I understand it, nearly all domestic ducks, the Muscovy being an exception but including Indian Runner and Khaki Campbell and Rouen Duck varieties, are descended from wild Mallard stock.  In theory a white (non-Muscovy) ‘table duck (or drake)’ could mate with a Pacific Black Duck, but that seems unlikely to me somehow.  Do we have any confirmed example?  That could mean that all or nearly all the exotic ducks we are seeing are inbred domestic varieties and reproductively harmless to the wild PBD pool.  But who could be certain?   


From: Alison
Sent: Friday, 11 May 2018 10:10 PM
To: 'Geoffrey Dabb';
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Re: Information & ID of a Duck?


You are probably aware that there have been Mallards and what look like various cross-breeds on Lake Ginninderra for several years. While I haven’t seen any ducklings (not visiting often in Summer in past years), there does seem to be an increasing number of cross-bred birds with different colourings over the past few years.


Photos from 2008 and 2016 show the different colourations over the years.





From: Geoffrey Dabb
Sent: Friday, 11 May 2018 4:58 PM
Subject: FW: [canberrabirds] Re: Information & ID of a Duck?


Thanks Christine.  Useful information.  I wouldn’t be surprised by local breeding within a ‘hybrid group’, which you confirm.  I wonder if pure P Black Ducks are being recruited into the pool, either as male or female. One clue is leg colour – female mallards and some hybrids will have orange/yellow legs.  PBD leg colour more dull greenish rather like that right hand hybrid.  Watch for shovelers, though.  g


From: Christine
Sent: Friday, 11 May 2018 12:10 PM
To: COG chatline
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Re: Information & ID of a Duck?


Hi Julie,


If Geoffrey is right about it being the one from West Belconnen Pond (which I think quite likely), then this was a duckling from last summer, and I have some very very poor photos from 2nd Jan 2017, The mother was a Mallard type, probably a hybrid, and the other duck in your photos is probably one of its siblings, as the ducklings were very close for over a year, and seen together (as in Geoffrey's photo), just the 5 or 6 of them, usually a little apart from the other mallards.


A couple of years before there was a Mallard type female with 12 ducklings - 6 yellow and 6 brown, but I only saw them once as tiny ducklings, so assume they all did not make it.

So yes, the domestic "Mallards" are breeding in the wild at WBP.







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