A real duck mystery…

Hello folks!

First of all, I would like to wish a very happy new year to everyone. I hope 2013 will bring you many new interesting birds!

I would like to sound your expertise on the following photo of a mystery duck – it was taken yesterday (January 13, 2013) on Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada. For the most part, it looks like a female Common Goldeneye (COGO) except for the eye, which is too dark (although that could be a trick of the light), and the bill, which is completely dark and is shaped like slightly bigger version of a male COGO’s. Is this some weird hybrid (we get plenty of those in this area) or something else completely? Ideas, anyone? And take a look at the second photo, which I have included for purposes of comparison: this is most clearly a female COGO (with a female Mallard in the foreground).

BTW, bonus marks to anyone who can guess what the duck in the background of the Mystery Duck. I’ll give you a clue: it’s a female!


Mystery Duck (and friend, in the background)

Mystery Duck (and friend, in the background)

Female Common Goldeneye (and female Mallard in foreground)
Female Common Goldeneye (and female Mallard in foreground)



5 responses to “A real duck mystery…

  1. Beautiful Goldeneye! nice!
    My guess for the backround duck is female Greater Scaup?

  2. Oh, and Happy New Year to you!

  3. That bird in the front of the top photo looks nearly identical to every female Common Goldeneye I have seen and to Sibley’s drawings. I’d wager that it is not a hybrid, but simply a rare variant of a female Common Goldeneye. Is the duck in the top back a Lesser Scaup?

  4. Indeed, the mystery bird does not seem to be so mysterious after all: a few questions and Google searches later, I have found plenty of evidence that this is a juvenile (first year) female Common Goldeneye. And the duck in the background is a female Lesser Scaup.