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the bill on the bird suggests some merganser genes to me . . .looks
(relatively) long, narrow, and possibly serrate . . .



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Sebastian T. Patti
(Lincoln Park)
Chicago, ILLINOIS 60614-3354
PHONE: 312/603-4416 (o) 773/248-0570 (h)
FAX: 312/603-2041 (o) 773/248-0264 (h)





>From: "Robert J. Mangile" <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: MO Wild Bird Forum <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: More about Mystery Duck
>Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 01:32:29 -0600
>
>November 27, 2002
>
>Species hybrids can be tricky, for sure.  I've made various "breed"
>crosses in domestic pigeons and have cataloged over one thousand, four
>hundred (1400) matings as of this year.  There seems to be a general
>inheritance pattern with regards to white feathers. Usually when the
>plumage of a given area on one breed is colored (pigmented) and that
>same general area is "white" on the other breed, the resulting offspring
>usually display pigmented feathers in that general area, i.e., dark
>dominates.  It ain't fool proof by any means but it is a good generality
>I've learned over the years.
>
>Assuming that the above generality is correct, the hybrid duck in
>question displays a mostly white "cheek" all the way to its bill and
>even extending "above" the eye - just a little; hence, both species
>involved in the "blind folded" union (as per Dorothy Lambert!!) must
>have had white in that area.  The Barrow's Goldeneye has white clearly
>extending above the eye, in direct contact with the black bill and above
>the top of the bill.  (I'm only looking at field guides.  I don't have
>museum specimens in hand!)
>
>If that reasoning is applied to the wing and side coloration of the
>birds involved, my thoughts tell me that the Ruddy and Hooded Merganser
>are out of the picture - no white sides.  But the male Bufflehead
>displays some or much white on its side, (depending on the season), and
>has other white areas in its plumage.
>
>Another thing learned in cross breeding is that large, wide based bills
>tend to be dominant characteristics.  Heavy billed x small billed
>hybrids tend to display large, broad based bills.  Again, the hybrid
>duck in question doesn't have the large, wide based bill of the Ruddy;
>and the Common Goldeneye tends to have a little larger bill that the
>Barrow's, but more importantly it is black - as displayed in the hybrid
>duck.
>
>There is a problem with the absence of the "black spur" displayed at the
>Barrow's neckline and the pigmented (black) portion of the upper wing
>but hybrids don't inherit characteristics with considerations for
>pictures in a book.
>
>The pictures of the Barrow's Goldeneye tend to show a raised region on
>the back of the head and that might be a characteristic said to have
>been displayed in the hybrid duck. The dark eye is displayed in both the
>Bufflehead and the hybrid duck.  The bill is similar to the Barrow's
>Goldeneye but it shows a resemblance to the Hooded Merganser, too.
>
>Also, the Goldeneye x Bufflehead is an intra-generic paring (as opposed
>to inter-generic parings); lending to better potential chromosome
>balance. In generic crosses the offspring have less chance to survive
>due to chromosome imbalance - females fare less well that males.  But
>after all the guess work we will probably never be certain without DNA
>testing - assuming that wildlife scientists don't do much "test
>breeding" to learn more about the many plumage variants in wild species.
>
>This is growing much too long.  Just thought I'd offer my reasoning
>behind my "guess" at the hybrid.  Did I mention that it was cold today,
>and that I was sorta bored!
>
>Bob Mangile
>--
>
> > Robert Fisher wrote:
> >
> > The suggestions, Bufflehead x Ruddy, Tufted Duck X Am. Goldeneye and
> > Bufflehead X Barrow's Goldeneye all make some sense. David Castaner's
> > description included elements of most of those species. For example,
> > he mentioned that the head seemed greenish (like a Goldeneye). He also
> > mentioned that the tail seemed somewhat stiff, like a Ruddy. He also
> > said  that the head had a hint of a crest at times, like a merganser,
> > but at other times lay flat. (The description thus supports several
> > hypotheses).
> >
> > I have cropped the pictures to make the file smaller. The whole
> > pictures show  scaup, goldeneye and a ruddy in relation to the mystery
> > duck.
> >
> > A second cropped picture set at higher resolution is attached, as are
> > the uncropped larger versions.
> >
> > For me, the white in the head seemed wrong for Bufflehead, and the
> > white on the sides seemed wrong for Barrow's Goldeneye, but right for
> > Common Goldeneye and especially Tufted Duck. I guessed Common
> > Goldeneye X Hooded Merganser because they are known to hybridize, but
> > the white in the face does look more like a drake Ruddy in alternate
> > plumage. (Unfortunately, it seems whiter than a Ruddy in basic
> > plumage.  Compare the sleeping Ruddy on the right side of one of the
> > pictures.) In support of my Hooded Merg. hypothesis, there is a hint
> > of cinnamon just under and behind the white in one picture.
> >
> > See if these additional photos help.
> >
> >
> >                               Bob Fisher
> >                         Independence, Missouri
> >                         [log in to unmask]
> >
>
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