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Help needed to identify a couple of water birds, Lake Geneva at Geneva, Switzerland (1 Viewer)

caliboss

Member
Switzerland
A couple of mystery birds (for me) at Geneva today - Isle de Rousseau area. The first two shots are Grebe-like but did not look like any Little Grebe I have seen before and I do not see what else. The shape seemed wrong for Little Grebe, bigger and more elongated.

IMG_0618_Export.jpg IMG_0617_Export.jpg

The second bird I can only believe was some domestic/hybrid but I cannot even pin down what it might be from?

IMG_0628_Export.jpg

As always any advice/comments welcome. Many thanks in advance.
 

Butty

Well-known member
1-2. Little grebe, breeding plumage. Looks thoroughly normal ;)
3. Some domestic waterfowl - presumably hybrid and mucked-about-with on top of that. Weird one. Might be good for eating but not much else.
 

caliboss

Member
Switzerland
Thanks Butty. I have been looking at Little Grebes off and on over the past weeks which did not look like this one but am an inexperienced birder and checking in the guides again I see you are correct. It just did not look like the squat dumpy little birds I had seen before - but the face markings are quite distinctive. Thanks for helping on that. I now learn what the breeding plumage looks like :mad:.

The domestic/hybrid...perhaps some canard on the some local Geneva menu tonight...
 

JoeGBirder

formerly WoodpeckerMaster
United States
the first one is definetely a little grebe with some sort of seasonal plumage, because i've definetely seen him on the little grebe plumage on my go-to field guide for specific plumages (the crossley id guide) but the second one must be a hybrid of some sort.

hope this helps.

-joe
 

Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Hello,
the hybrid looked similar to a Cackling Goose x Lesser White-fronted Goose I saw some years ago. Pictures and helpful comments by Ralph Martin are here: Starnberger See, Ammersee u.a. 25.11.2012
If you follow the links, you will find a similar looking hybrid by Henry Lehto https://flic.kr/p/6Pg7dP Therefore I think, this bird here is a Barnacle x Lesser WFG, too. I would expect a Barnacle x Canada (of whatever form) to show an all dark bill without the pale pinkish overlay and blackish legs. But I hope for Jörn and others to jump in.

 

bittern

Well-known member
Yes, Little Grebe in breeding plumage. I guess that you saw that hybrid at l'Ile Rousseau where there are several hybrid geese that vary from individuals looking more or less like wild Greylags to others that are heavy weight farmyard geese with an occasional Red-breasted Goose that probably escaped from the botanical gardens and some of more doubtful exotic parentage like the one that you photographed. There are also hybrids among the diving duck that are present in the winter, particularly between Common Pochard, Tufted Duck and Ferrugnous Duck.

Cheers,

Mike (in Geneva)
 

Joern Lehmhus

Well-known member
The probable Barnacle goose hybrid has been at Lake Geneva for years ( I think it may be well over 10 years old now), I have been sent photos of it a few times, and it gained more and more white body feathers with ageing. This is odd as I haven´t seen something like this in any other hybrid without a domestic goose involved.

It is clearly a Branta x anser hybrid, BUT It is not fully clear which species exactly were involved but the tiny bill makes a barnacle (or perhaps a cackling goose) as one parent and a lesser whitefront as the other parent most likely.
 

caliboss

Member
Switzerland
Really interesting. Many thanks for the information. I don't get to Geneva very often so it was a first sighting for me. Last time I saw the Red Breasted Geese, Mandarin Duck and Greylag/Domestic geese. I will remember in future that these are all escapees/hybrids and not ask on the forum! Best regards.
 

stevethehydra

Well-known member
If there are Red-breasted Geese at the location, I wonder what a hybrid between RBG and LWFG would look like. I think the only RBG hybrid I have seen was with Barnacle, but I vaguely remember it having a face pattern not that far off that of this bird (with red diluted to a brownish/ochre kind of colour).

There was a presumed LWFG x Barnacle hybrid around Manchester 10 or so years ago which I saw on a few occasions - it was also very odd-looking, but quite different from both the OP bird here and that posted by Alexander. Its "ground colour" was close to that of a blue phase Snow Goose and its face was largely white with light brownish patches. I wondered if it might have had Snow or Emperor instead of (or even as well as) LWFG - but it seems like all Branta x Anser hybrids are quite variable...
 

lou salomon

the birdonist
If there are Red-breasted Geese at the location, I wonder what a hybrid between RBG and LWFG would look like. I think the only RBG hybrid I have seen was with Barnacle, but I vaguely remember it having a face pattern not that far off that of this bird (with red diluted to a brownish/ochre kind of colour).

There was a presumed LWFG x Barnacle hybrid around Manchester 10 or so years ago which I saw on a few occasions - it was also very odd-looking, but quite different from both the OP bird here and that posted by Alexander. Its "ground colour" was close to that of a blue phase Snow Goose and its face was largely white with light brownish patches. I wondered if it might have had Snow or Emperor instead of (or even as well as) LWFG - but it seems like all Branta x Anser hybrids are quite variable...
Red-breasted x any of the White-fronts are very dark, almost black overall with very subdued pattern on head. this one looks like being a Barnacle offspring allright.
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
Thanks Butty. I have been looking at Little Grebes off and on over the past weeks which did not look like this one but am an inexperienced birder and checking in the guides again I see you are correct. It just did not look like the squat dumpy little birds I had seen before - but the face markings are quite distinctive. Thanks for helping on that. I now learn what the breeding plumage looks like :mad:.

The domestic/hybrid...perhaps some canard on the some local Geneva menu tonight...
Another thing you need to remember with grebes is their profile / neck length varies a lot depending on what they are doing. The little grebe you photographed was alert with its neck up and therefore closer to the profile of a black-necked or Slavonian grebe you see in books.

Lake Geneva also seems to have a number of exotic duck species - Ringed Teal fooled me once, I didn't have a clue what it was at first.
 

Canadak

New member
Canada
Saw the same hybrid I guess! 2 days ago. Been scratching my head, thinking barnacle-and-something, with neat little barnacle-like head and extra-mystifying white feathers on dark back - interesting to know it’s been around for many years!
 

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