Time of the year again: Ducks, ducks, ducks

It’s that time of the year again where the cats and dogs in the neighbourhood start bringing in little chicks and ducklings.

While a few of last year’s rescue ducks have returned sporadically throughout the year, they now seem to be returning in larger numbers and bringing their boy friends along.

Over time we have learnt that the ducks we thought were all female Mallards rather were – at least partially – the endemic Grey duck/pārera and mostly a hybrid. Best summary of difference we could find was from Fish & Game NZ:

A distinguishing feature of the grey duck is a pattern of stripes extending from the bill back onto the head, with a thick dark patch over the top of the head, a thinner brown stripe through the eye, and another fainter line below from the beak opening. Males and females are alike in appearance, and similar to plumage of the female mallard. The grey duck's colouring is darker overall, and the head stripes more pronounced than the female mallard. Grey duck have a white underwing and an iridescent turquoise green speculum on their wing (lower right), whereas the mallard speculum is blue or purple. The blue speculum tends to predominate on hybrids.


Also explains why we now have noticed that they are not all females :-), because the hybrids and grey ducks look alike, unlike their Mallard boy friends.

Meanwhile our domestic ducks are laying eggs everywhere in the paddock and it is like an easter egg hunt everyday. Also finding the odd egg stashes in various places.

Picture of a stash of white duck eggs in a shrubbery, half hidden under leaves
Duck egg stash

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