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Please help identify these two ducks - Northern Arizona (1 Viewer)

They were mixed in with a group of about 75 mallards and a couple of ring-necked ducks. Are they a domestic duck breed possibly?

Thanks for your help!

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AlexC

Aves en Los Ángeles
Opus Editor
Supporter
I inherited from someone in these forums years ago to call domestic / farmyard Mallards like these: Yuck Ducks :)
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
I inherited from someone in these forums years ago to call domestic / farmyard Mallards like these: Yuck Ducks :)
The expression I use is ‘Manky Mallard’ which is a term that Charlie Moores first used on his birding blog years ago. The OP ducks look like they both have some Swedish Blue heritage.
 
So, out of curiosity, and for future reference, is the general rule that if it's not any other identifiable duck, then it's a domestic breed of some type? Or is there some other visual cue?
 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
So, out of curiosity, and for future reference, is the general rule that if it's not any other identifiable duck, then it's a domestic breed of some type? Or is there some other visual cue?
One helpful hint is the overall heavy build (especially in the tail area) of most domestic breeds. It can be helpful to familiarize yourself with some of the the more commonly kept breeds. Do NOT assume that any odd duck is domestic, I've seen many times where more interesting birds like hybrids and vagrants are overlooked in this way.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Tricky question. Yes, if it is not readily identifiable as a wild duck species partly. However, there are wild duck hybrids and also specific breeds of domestic ducks, such as the Swedish Blue, I mentioned above that are readily recognised. Size is a clue - Domestic Mallard ducks were originally bred for food and are much larger and dumpier than wild Mallards, especially around the belly. These also have Mallard shaped bills often. However, there are also call ducks, bred from domestic Mallards, which are very small (the size results in a high pitch call) and originally bred to lure wild duck into tunnel traps. Conversely, Muscovy Duck, the second of the two ducks used for domestic breeding, are large! All domestic breeds have either Mallard or Muscovy ancestry. The situation is further complicated by domestic mallard hybridising widely with wild Mallard and producing fertile offspring that are very difficult to separate from wild Mallards..

Once you get to recognise common hybrids and also some of the more common domestic breeds, you will find life easier!
 

AlexC

Aves en Los Ángeles
Opus Editor
Supporter
So, out of curiosity, and for future reference, is the general rule that if it's not any other identifiable duck, then it's a domestic breed of some type? Or is there some other visual cue?
Like others have said, not necessarily - but it just comes with experience to recognize domestic breed indicators, size being relevant for sure. They all maintain some degree of Mallard-ness. But a rough rule of thumb is, if it looks like you would find it on a farm or at a petting zoo, it's likely a domestic Mallard.
 

stevethehydra

Well-known member
I'm wondering if the first one is a Muscovy (x domestic Mallard) hybrid - it's a big bulky bird, mostly black, with a "long/low" look to the head and a long, wedge-shaped, upward-pointing tail which both remind me of Muscovy. The main point against it is that there is yellow on the bill, whereas in a Muscovy hybrid I'd typically expect red/pink...

The second is definitely a domestic Mallard. Possibly some "Call Duck" in it due to the small size, but not a "pure" one as they have a very noticeable short, stubby bill (think the equivalent to a "regular" Mallard of what a Cackling Goose is to a Canada or Ross's to a Snow Goose...)
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
I'm wondering if the first one is a Muscovy (x domestic Mallard) hybrid - it's a big bulky bird, mostly black, with a "long/low" look to the head and a long, wedge-shaped, upward-pointing tail which both remind me of Muscovy.
I can’t see a Muscovy here at all - more like a Black Swedish mix or Pomeranian perhaps



The second looks too large for a call duck imo they are tiny with stubby bills - it looks about the size of a female Mallard to me maybe only a tad smaller. Is it perhaps leucistic as well as being a mixed bag? 🤔
 

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