During our tour of Meknes in Morocco we visited a beautiful golf course inside a fortress in the heart of the city. There was a large pond as a part of the landscaping of the golf course. I saw a few ducks on this pond, including several Mallards.
This was one species I didn’t see all that often in Morocco, but that probably just reflects the fact that our tour didn’t take us to many places where there was suitable habitat. Ours was more of a cultural tour; any birding was merely incidental. One day I hope to return and do more of an environmental tour, taking in natural habitats where the bird life is more prevalent.
There was another species of duck present, but I couldn’t identify it.
Over recent days I’ve been sharing about bird sightings on a trip to Mannum on the Murray River recently. While I was sitting in Mary Ann Reserve watching the birds on and near the river these two Pacific Black Ducks swam past. I took the photo without noticing the orange tips on their bills.
It was only when I enlarged the image on my computer that I noticed the orange. That’s not normal in this species. The only explanation I can offer is that they have hybridised with Mallards at some stage. There are feral populations of Mallards in the region. Mallards are an introduced species and feral groups exist where they have been released or have escaped from farms or back yards.
I’d be interested in readers’ comments on this little mystery.
Meanwhile, I took the following photo just before leaving to go home. These two Pacific Black Ducks had been sitting on the grass alongside me while I photographed all the other birds shown here recently. They didn’t seem at all concerned that I was only about 2 metres away.