Two strange ducks at Mannum

Pacific Black Ducks - but with orange bills?

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.

Pacific Black Ducks, Mannum, South Australia


One Response to “Two strange ducks at Mannum”

  1. Liz says:

    I came across a similar situation with some ducks on a lake in Brisbane. I have tried everywhere to find out what kind of ducks (or possibly geese) I photographed on the lake but none are mentioned in any literature or on an Australian birding site. My final assumption was that these birds are hybrids of numerous species of ducks and possibly originally domestic ducks. The group was quite large and diverse in colour. Large white, brown, white & black, white & brown and a hybrid looking Mallard. With the goup were many Pacific Black Ducks which were dwarfed in size by this group of birds. I will publish a post over the weekend on my blog.

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