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Identification 

 
Rare Birds in Spain

Identification

Hybrid and aberrant Anseriformes in Spain Part II: some birds from l'Albufera de València

All texts and drawings by José Luis Terrasa 

Another presumed hybrid Mallard x Red-crested Pochard
Presumed hybrid Mallard x Gadwall
Presumed hybrid Pochard x Tufted Duck
Presumed hybrid Scaup x Tufted Duck

In the last years some presumed hybrids among duck species have been observed at Parc Natural de l’Albufera, Valencia, Spain.

Due to the fact that finding a hybridisation is unusual, the recognising of these hybrids are very curious observations, because of all this specimens show intermediate characteristics, which reveal the authentical parents.

Four different types are described here: Anas platyrhynchos x Netta rufina, Anas strepera x Anas platyrhynchos, Aythya rufina x Aythya fuligula and Aythya marila x Aythya fuligula.

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Another presumed hybrid Anas platyrhynchos x Netta rufina

See the case of the Llobregat delta bird thought to be of this kind too here

A male presumed hybrid Anas platyrhynchos x Netta rufina has been observed in the last four years, during the wintering season, in the Racó de l’Olla reserve area and la Mata del Fang (the biggest island in the Albufera).

Body and head structures are clearly like the Red-crested Pochard, but the colours are mixed between the two species. The bill structure recalls Mallard, but only yellow at base, changing to red-pinkish on the tip, and with a longitudinal dark band. The purple colour of the head shows the hybridisation between the green and the red-brown of the parents. Black-brownish is the colour of the back of the neck, like in the Red-crested, and the breast, that turns gradually into the vermiculated grey sides. Brown-greyish above. The black stern with some white external tail feathers is a mixed feature too. Between the grey sides and the stern, appears a pure white patch, like Mallard’s, but broader than this species.

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The presumed hybrid Anas strepera x Anas platyrhynchos

A male presumed hybrid Anas strepera x Anas platyrhynchos was seen on the 8.12.2000 at la Mata del Fang reserve area in the Albufera de València natural park. The head pattern was the first characteristic that indicated this bird was not a pure species. The pattern was somewhat like that of the Red-crested pochard female, all dark with a pale cheek.

Some features showed the presumed original parents: body colour (grey), black stern and light tertials like Gadwall; Bird-size, length and structure of the bill (indeterminated colour), and a pure white patch between the sides of the body and the stern (see above picture) like that of the Mallard.

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The presumed hybrid Aythya ferina x Aythya fuligula

A female hybrid Aythya ferina x Aythya fuligula was seen at la Mata del Fang, on 18.10.2000.

It appeared to be very similar to the Pochard female, although some features gave us the correct path for its identification: grey-blue bill, with a pale band and black tip, and a white band surrounding the base of its bill like in the case of the Tufted Duck. The diffuse pales eye-ring and line behind eye (light, but not yellow) like that of Pochard. This bird did not display any wing-bar

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The presumed hybrid Aythya marila x Aythya fuligula.

A first winter male Aythya marila was observed and identificated at long range (see the sketch), at la Mata del Fang, on the 26.12.2001. These were its principal characteristics: a rounded head and without any crest, all dark green head except a small white patch near the base of the bill, a dark brown body with some moulted grey feathers, like in the adult plumage.

Three other specimens of this species were seen last week of November 2001: an adult female, a first winter male, and an individual of indeterminated age.
Later, this bird was seen closely by a real time camera (at the Information centre of the natural park).

As it was found, all the characteristics were recalling a 1st winter male Scaup, except the tip of the bill, typically like the Tufted Duck, including the pale band.

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The interest of José Luís Terrasa made this page possible. El interés de José Luis Terrasa hizo posible esta página. L'interès de José Luís Terrasa va fer possible aquesta plana.


Hybrid and aberrant Anseriformes in Spain Part II: some birds from l'Albufera de València

All texts and drawings by José Luis Terrasa 

Another presumed hybrid Mallard x Red-crested Pochard
Presumed hybrid Mallard x Gadwall
Presumed hybrid Pochard x Tufted Duck
Presumed hybrid Scaup x Tufted Duck

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11.2.2002