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Tufted Duck x Scaup Hybrid? And an unknown gull. Rhode Island, USA (1 Viewer)

Parrots

Member
United States
Hi. I came across some birds I wasn't sure about yesterday. Scanning a pack of Scaup, I noticed one bird that had a tufted head appearing peaked at the back (in the center below):

IMG_4912.jpg More 1.jpg More 3.jpg

Possibly the same bird (there was also a Ring-necked Duck around):
More 6.jpg

A female that stood out in the Scaup flock for having very minimal white above its bill (visible in first picture) -- not sure if this is regular for juvenile Scaup or an indication of a different species / hybrid:
Female2.jpg Female1.jpg Female3.jpg

Earlier in the day, I spotted a gull that looked darker than a Herring Gull with heavy facial streaking, making me think of Lesser Black-backed. A more experienced birder in the same spot thought it looked odd, a bit lighter than Lesser-black Backed, and mentioned the possibility of a Herring hybrid. Tried to take some pictures through my scope:

1.jpg IMG_4826.jpg IMG_4831.jpg IMG_4834.jpg IMG_4843.jpg IMG_4849.jpg IMG_4851.jpg IMG_4854.jpg IMG_4864.jpg

Sibley mentions a Siberian subspecies of Herring with a darker mantle, but notes that it's restricted to Alaska. I could also be overthinking this one (if the mantle color is within normal range for Herring rather than a hybrid / Lesser Black-backed) as a beginner.

Thanks again for the help! Had a great time.
 

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Parrots

Member
United States
I've attached some more pictures of the duck. The mantle appears a darker gray than those of the surrounding Scaup, but not pure black like Tufted Duck. The shape of the tuft almost looks similar to a picture midway down this page on Tufted Duck x Scaup hybrids.
 

Joern Lehmhus

Well-known member
well one of the ducks is a ringneck (peaked head and flaks white to the front), the other with the short tuft looks like a hybrid Tufted x Scaup. The scaup appear to be Greater scaup
 

Parrots

Member
United States
well one of the ducks is a ringneck (peaked head and flaks white to the front), the other with the short tuft looks like a hybrid Tufted x Scaup. The scaup appear to be Greater scaup
Thanks for the help. Looking over the pictures again, I spotted a female with very minimal white above the bill (attached in the main post above). Could this indicate Tufted Duck involvement, or is the white variable across Scaup? My field guide shows more white in juvenile Scaup, but I see a picture here of a Lesser Scaup with little white above the bill (still more than this individual).
 

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