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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Hooded Merganser? Possible Hybrid? (1 Viewer)

hamlinjk15u

Well-known member
United States
Seen at Rockland Recreational Area, Old Hickory Lake, Nashville, TN.

There have been reports for the last few weeks of a Hooded Merganser at this location. A few weeks back I got a horribly backlit photo of what looked to be a Hooded Merganser, but couldn't confirm it for sure, so never counted it. Today, however, I was able to get some really great photos of what I believe everyone has been counting on eBird as a Hooded Merganser.

However, in looking at lots of photos of Hooded Mergansers, this one just doesnt seem to match up. Coupled with the fact that both the first time I saw it (presumably the same bird), and this time today, it was with appx 30 Mallards, I am wondering if it could possibly be a Mallard X Hooded Merganser hybrid? Easily seen as smaller than the Mallards around it, it doesn't seem to have the puffy head of a Hooded Merganser, nor the typical colors, even of a female, although possibly that of a 1st year juvi. At least from what I have been able to find (Stokes, Sibley guides, Merlin, Audubon apps, and general Google photo search). The red eye throws me off as well as everything I see is Hooded Mergansers have yellow eyes.

What do you guys think?
 

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Butty

Well-known member
Normal hooded merganser. The tail-feathers are extremely worn, so I assume it's an adult in eclipse. Eclipse ducks of many species can look odd and confusing. (Don't quote me - because I know nothing about it - but I'd guess that a hybrid between any merganser species and mallard would be extremely unlikely.)
 

hamlinjk15u

Well-known member
United States
Normal hooded merganser. The tail-feathers are extremely worn, so I assume it's an adult in eclipse. Eclipse ducks of many species can look odd and confusing. (Don't quote me - because I know nothing about it - but I'd guess that a hybrid between any merganser species and mallard would be extremely unlikely.)
Ah yes eclipse! Gets me every time! And i agree with the size difference it would be quite the event if there was a hybrid. I am curious then why this one is is consistently hanging out with this Mallard group? And it seemed to follow a specific eclipsed male Mallard around when it was out paddling.
 

hamlinjk15u

Well-known member
United States
(Relative) size is not the point. It's the fact that mergansers and mallard are (as ducks go) fairly highly unrelated.
I wasnt aware of the reason you specifically meant due to the fact it wasnt explained. So size doesnt really ever play a part in mating? Im personally not really familiar with family relativity, or how that plays into mating allowances or typical behavior. Guess I need to educate myself more before asking wild questions:D
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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