Saturday, July 16, 2011

Return of the Dark Brown Ducks

Two years ago I noticed a dark brown duck with a mottled whitish front to its neck hanging out with the local mallards on the river in downtown Northfield. It was suggested to me that it might be a domestic Swedish duck or a cross with one (here's a photo from another source,, that looks quite similar). Last summer I saw it again, or another very like it.

A couple of days ago I saw two of them, snoozing on the eastern bank near a lot of mallards (above). They were very sleepy, so I didn't get a shot of one with its head up, but you get the general idea. If you click on the photo, you'll be able to see it much, much larger.

Here are some of the other ducks that were in the vicinity. It was nap time for most.


Chip said...

I have pictures of a very similar looking duck taken at Lake Harriet here in MPLS. As far as I have been able to deduce they are a mallard hybrid. Probably with an American Black Duck. Love how they all have their eyes glued to you.

Penelope said...

Hi Chip, thanks for posting. These don't look much like the images I've looked at for mallard x American black duck hybrids -- there is very little "mallardy" about them in terms of coloring, though certainly in size and shape they are similar. Both the black ducks and mallards have a contrasting head, which these birds don't. I'm certainly no expert on avian hybrids, though!

Penelope said...

I ran these photos by Dan Tallman of Dan Tallman's Bird Blog and he opined, "I just took them to be "barnyard" ducks. I doubt they have any genetic integrity."