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Possible black stilt hybrid and ducklings?

Posted: Mon May 18, 2020 5:47 pm
by Cardinal15
I went birdwatching yesterday in Whakatane and was pleasantly surprised in many ways.
The first surprise was eleven ducklings. The duck looked like a grey duck so probably a hybrid. Does anybody know why there breeding?
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Also, there was a stilt that could be either a juvenile pied stilt or a black stilt hybrid. If anybody could give ID it would be very much appreciated.
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Hybrid black stilt? with pied stilt
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There were also 6 Caspian terns, the first time I've seen them there. Is it usual for them to be there?
Also seen was a pied shag, 15 royal spoonbills, white-faced heron, gulls, paradise shelduck, and a kingfisher.

Cheers,
Cardinal15

Re: Possible black stilt hybrid and ducklings?

Posted: Mon May 18, 2020 11:29 pm
by Finn Davey
Hello there

Those ducks are indeed mallard x grey duck hybrids. The mother duck does have a strong, grey duck like face however the body feathers are that of a mallard.

That stilt is just a juvenile. You can see the dark feathers on the forehead area are quite light, that's just the start of the transition into normal adult plumage. The black around the neck will also lessen.

Re: Possible black stilt hybrid and ducklings?

Posted: Tue May 19, 2020 9:35 am
by Jan
Mallard/Grey duck hybrids seem to breed any old time of year nowadays, it's probably a late summer nester, rather than an early spring one, but might as well be. Black Swans breed all year round too.

Re: Possible black stilt hybrid and ducklings?

Posted: Tue May 19, 2020 12:24 pm
by Cardinal15
Thanks for that.

Re: Possible black stilt hybrid and ducklings?

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 9:36 am
by RussCannings
Yep in the Waikato and Bay if Plenty at least (and I assume elsewhere), swans, ducks, pukeko, and coot can nest in any month--but particularly mallard/greys.

There is a swan on eggs at the Morrinsville WTP as I type!

Russ

Re: Possible black stilt hybrid and ducklings?

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 2:04 pm
by Oscar Thomas
A way to tell Pied stilts that have a small % of Black stilt genes are that they will often show a complete black neck band rather than tabs stopping at the shoulder; the white collar on the nape will also show black speckling and an overall smudgier appearance. This may be the case for the bird to the immediate left of the immature stilt in the second photo. There are certainly many hybrids all across the country.

Re: Possible black stilt hybrid and ducklings?

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 7:45 pm
by Raewyn
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The bird on the left is one that I see at Spirits Bay. It's nice to be able to recognise the individual each time I see it.