Hmmm, 1984?... it doesn't seem that long ago!
Over in WA we have no wild-type Mallards, so the few odd ducks that appear
on lakes here are either:
1 - purebred or crossbred (mongrel) domestic Mallards, many of which
2 - domestic Mallard x Muscovy hybrids (which are quite variable,
sometimes have red around the beak but not always, have a wedge-shaped
tail... and are sterile), or
3 - domestic Mallard x Pacific Black Duck hybrids. The domestic
Mallards released on lakes are mostly males, so hybrids are almost always
crosses between Male domestic Mallard and female Pacific Black Duck and are
fertile. They may or may not fly but tend to be fairly sedentary. Orange
legs are certainly common in Mallard x Black Duck hybrids that I've seen
These photos look to me like a crossbred domestic Mallard, although it could
be a Mallard x Muscovy hybrid - how did it move? Was the tail fairly stiff
I'll be interested to hear what Patrick Guay from Vic Uni thinks.
From: Stephen Ambrose
Sent: Saturday, 5 July 2014 10:25 AM
To: 'John Harris'; 'Mike Carter'
Cc: 'Patrick Guay'; ; 'Mandy Bamford'
Mandy Bamford (nee Silberstein) looked at hybridisation between Mallards and
Pacific Black Ducks in Perth for her Honours degree at the University of
Western Australia in 1984 (I know, a long time ago!), so I have cc'ed her
into this conversation too.
All the best,
From: Birding-Aus On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, 4 July 2014 4:08 PM
To: Mike Carter
Cc: Patrick Guay;
I'd like to add my 2 cents worth to this discussion. Dr Patrick Guay from
Vic Uni has looked at hybridisation between native ducks and Mallard types
and is much better placed to add to this discussion than I am so i have
cc'ed him into this.
An interesting topic indeed.
*Yours in all things* "*GREEN"*
*John Harris BASc, GDipEd*
* Director - Wildlife Experiences Pty LtdPrincipal Ecologist/Zoologist*
*Nature Photographer* *Wildlife Guide*
*President, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria* *(www.fncv.org.au
On 4 July 2014 12:30, Mike Carter <> wrote:
> A rather late entry to this debate. I have no doubt that Russell's
> bird was of feral origin, a hybrid farm-yard type duck.
> But the increasing occurrence of bright orange feet in otherwise 'perfect'
> Pacific Black Ducks south-east of Melbourne is surprising, difficult
> to explain and perhaps of some concern. Not so long ago I would count
> an orange-footed bird as a Shoveler but can no longer rely on that as
> an ID feature as more Black Ducks now show it. Surprising because
> Pacific Black Ducks are abundant, Mallard are extremely rare and the
> larger free flying farm-yard ducks very uncommon. As an illustration I
> took the attached shot showing Black Duck with orange feet on one of
> our recent surveys on a wetland SE of Melbourne. I realise that some
> individuals have brighter feet than others but it seems to me that the
> brightness and frequency of orange feet in Black Ducks is increasing.
> Mike Carter
> 30 Canadian Bay Road
> Mount Eliza VIC 3930
> Tel (03) 9787 7136