Custom Search

Friday, January 2, 2015

My First Hybrid

I've mentioned before that one of the challenges faced by a novice birder like myself is that many birds look different in different seasons and at various stages of their lives. However, there is a further though rarer challenge and that is that some species of birds interbreed occasionally and produce hybrids that may bear some of the characteristics of both parent species. Above is an example. There are two species of Goldeneye Ducks, the Common Goldeneye and the Barrow's Goldeneye. Differences in head shape, size and plumage distinguish the two species. However, occasionally they interbreed and produce a hybrid such as can be seen in the photo above. The hybrid is second from the left. He bears the teardrop-shaped white cheek patch characteristic of the Barrow's Goldeneye but the black and white pattern on his back is much closer to the Common Goldeneyes that surround him than is usual with the Barrow's Goldeneyes. Below is a photo of some Barrow's Goldeneyes for comparison. Note particularly the bird on the far right of the photo as he is the only male.


William Kendall said...

Beautiful captures!

Stephanie said...

Interesting info and great images.