Chestnut Teal/ Black Duck Hybrid

To: <>
Subject: Chestnut Teal/ Black Duck Hybrid
From: "John Barkla" <>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 17:49:47 +1000
Last weekend I visited the Belmont Common (in Victoria on the Bellarine Peninsula, near Geelong for birders who may not know it) with my wife Gabrielle, my father Jack and Fred Smith.  We birded from the hide without seeing anything of particular note and then went for a short walk through the adjacent golf course.  The course was flooded recently and there are some more or less permanent and some ephemeral wetland areas.  On one of these - close to the Club House and on your right as you enter the golf course - we saw a male Chestnut Teal with a presumably female Pacific Black Duck and 3 ducklings.  On the same pond but standing off from the family group was an adult duck that was initially dismissed as a Black Duck, but on closer inspection was seen to be a hybrid.  We presumed that it was from a previous brood from the same pair.  The adult hybrid was the size of a Black Duck, but was darker.  It was particularly dark in the face, but not green, and with some semblance of the Black Duck striping.  The neck and breast pattern was similar to a male Chestnut Teal, with clear demarcation between the neck and breast colour.  The sex was not determined, but the bird had some features of a male Chestnut Teal.  The body colour, in particular, was the same (or similar) dark brown colour.
We were all aware of many duck species that hybridise in captivity and some that hybridise in the wild.  None of us was aware of any previous record of wild Chestnut Teal and Black Ducks hybridising.  Certainly we have not seen it. 
As my work has precluded me from searching the literature (I might find the time to check HANZAB this weekend), I thought I would ask if anyone else is aware of these two species experiencing nuptial bliss.  Can anyone enlighten me?
John Barkla  
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