Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Battle o’ the Birdies!

When B and I were at the little unnamed park on North Creek in January, we got to witness a battle between birds. Yes, we should emulate nature, mm-hmm.

There are always a ton of birdies on this pond, sometimes coexisting a bit more peacefully. See how many species you can spot!

Image shows a variety of birds on a pond. There are some mallards, a coot, and some brown and white ducks wandering amongst the water weeds.

Please do try to remember to bring bird goodies when visiting this pond (we never do, bad humans!), because the birds will chase you all over looking for handouts.

The birds are swimming toward us.

And then they’ll lurk nearby, and make you feel guilty if you don’t have anything for them. They’re very good at this.

The birds are lingering in a large group, waiting for food.

I think you’ve identified these brown-and-white duckies before, and I *think* I remember what they are, but here are some with a coot for you to identify again if you like.

An American Coot and two of the brown and white ducks hanging together.

I know. No major challenges, sadface. But who doesn’t love a good birdie battle?

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Battle o’ the Birdies!

8 thoughts on “Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Battle o’ the Birdies!

  1. 1

    Hey Dana,
    Looks like your battling birds are male hooded mergansers. Most likely they’ll head north after things warm up a bit.

  2. 2

    I disagree with Tom. The battling birdies are Green-winged Teal. The vertical white mark is quite distinctive. They’re my wife’s favorite ducks, on account of her great-great-grandmother’s maiden name being “Teal”.

    The beige ones are almost certainly mallard/domestic duck hybrids. Most domestic ducks, other than Muscovies, are mallard descendants, IIRC.

  3. 3

    Following up, from Wikipedia:

    Almost all varieties of domesticated duck are descended from the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), apart from the Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata).[1][2]

  4. rq

    Yup, I think you’re right on the fawn-coloured ducks, with more details on the breeding and allowed colours here. It’s actually quite fascinating, from a genetic point of view. Heh.
    As for the fighting ones, they’re definitely not hooded mergansers (too little white and no visible crest), but I’m not positive they’re green-winged teal, either. I’m not seeing the green/brown shading on the head.
    More inclined to think a swede from the mallard family (scroll down near the bottom!), esp. since the black duck with a white chest patrolling in the back seems to be a black swedish duck. Alternatively, I thought maybe common merganser, though it’s hard to see the beak clearly – or the northern pintail (leftmost column, third photo down).

  5. 5

    I’ve just reviewed the video again. Unfortunately, none of this species are visible (except very distantly) in the stills. After the review, I’m more certain than ever of my identification of green-winged teal. The green head markings would not be visible at the available video resolution. The white mark just ahead of the wings, and back by the tail, are distinctive.

    Not pintail, nor mallard mix either, although a mallard mix similar to your link is visible in the stills.

  6. 6

    I agree with Trebuchet. The battling birds are male Green-winged Teals. As he stated, the vertical white mark on the side just behind the head is diagnostic. It is that time of year, and the guys are duking it out to see who’s the biggest dude.

  7. rq

    Honestly, I’m just not seeing it, white stripe and all, but it could be my computer just not showing any defining characteristics to spite me. Ah well, ducks aren’t my specialty. :)
    Maybe Dana will tell us what colour those ducks actually were. :P

  8. 8

    It’s pretty difficult to see the defining characteristics in the video, I wish we had a still. The green patch on the brown head is tough to see regardless.

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