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Muscovy duck

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Old Thursday 23rd March 2017, 13:35   #1
marnixR
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Muscovy duck

I saw this Muscovy duck a few days ago in Swanbourne Lake not far from the WWT site in Arundel, and although it's officially classified as domesticated, this one was mixing with the mallards, tufted ducks and coots, and didn't look to my untrained eye like it was pinioned

Do feral Muscovy ducks exist, or could it just be an escapee from the WWT site ?
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Old Thursday 23rd March 2017, 13:53   #2
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More likely escaped from a poultry farm. There are a handful of feral-breeding pairs, but a.f.a.i.k. mainly around Ely (Cambs.); not enough to get themselves categorised as a self-sustaining population.
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Old Thursday 23rd March 2017, 14:18   #3
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you're probably right - especially since it appeared to be the only one of its kind on the lake (that is, unless there were others hiding out of sight)
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Old Thursday 23rd March 2017, 15:44   #4
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There are often several on Swanbourne lake, and although I have never seen one in flight I'm pretty sure they aren't pinioned. They are however the fat and heavy domesticated version, so if they can actually get airborne I doubt it is for very long.

As far as I know all the ducks on that lake are free-flying, they are just habituated to humans because of all the feeding that goes on there.

Interestingly (to me anyway!), there are at least two BHG's that were colour-ringed in Norway, one in 2006, that return there every winter departing to Norway each year to breed. (Green JJ03, and White JY55). Just photographed them both last week for the 4th successive winter for me.

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Old Saturday 25th March 2017, 19:31   #5
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The eBird rule is that domestic-type waterfowl mingling with wild birds at lakes are entered in checklists by observers, but they are then automatically placed outside of the total score of observed species, for example the report says that today you saw 24(+1) species. It helps those who want to have only wild birds on their life lists and at the same time the feral bird is recorded for any purposes that may appear later.

It seems at least some of the muscovies can fly a bit; there were instances when they were shot by hunters who proudly displayed them along the other shot ducks, believing that they are some kind of white northern duck "coming south from Moscow in winter".
I also saw a continuing muscovy x mallard hybrid (muscovy-sized) in direct flight from point A to point B.
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