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? Wood Duck, Sussex County, New Jersey, USA (1 Viewer)

m.skalla

Well-known member
Two trailing birds are wood ducks. The white at base of bill on leading bird is throwing me. ? another wood duck?

Taken November 5.
 

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Hello,
yes I agree with you the leading bird is another Wood Duck. Please note:
  • elongated, long tailed shape with narrow wings (therefore resulting in the feeling that wings are to narrow=have not enough area for a bird of its size, vaguely reminsisent of a Coot). Shared with Mandarin Duck
  • the broad, oval white area (edit: around the eye) has the right shape for a female Wood Duck, and therefore much better than for most similar Mandarin Duck
  • yes I agree with you, the white blaze seems too broad and conspicious for both species. But as everything else seems good for a female Wood Duck, I would say its indeed one.
But: Im must admit if I didnt know the location, where Mandarin is a rare bird, I assume, I couldnt decide between those two:
  • long tail seems better for Wood Duck, as is white patch around eye
  • small, trinagular bill seems better for Mandarin Duck

But yes, thats too much squeezed out of this picture, but I would say the white blaze is some kind of abnormal colouration (both can have little white at the bill-base.

Caveat: I dont have experience with american species, only from zoos/collections (Ring-necked Duck excepted)
 
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For the reasons Alexander mentioned, the lead bird seems good for Wood Duck to me. The elongated tail, distinctive white eye patch and white belly strike me as the key features.
 
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