Sunday, February 24, 2013

Duck Date

Last February I wrote about a pair of interesting puddle ducks I saw in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Click here for that blog. She was a mallard, Anas platyrhynchos. He was an American black duck, Anas rubripes. She would normally mate with a green-headed male mallard duck. But they appeared to be a couple. 

I think I saw the same pair in the same spot today.  

This is the female mallard duck. Both genders of mallard have conspicuous white borders on the blue patch of wing feathers called the speculum.
This is the male black duck. His plumage is subdued compared to the famous green-headed mallards.  His speculum does not have a white border. Click on this to see the male mallard in a previous blog. 
When I came upon the pair today, they were performing courtship displays. She had her neck extended and was lying low in the water. He was swimming around her, pumping his head up and down. 
Courtship postures. 
He stepped onto her back briefly, they mated in the water, and then he hopped off. He flapped his wings and raised his body in a splashy post-copulatory display. Then he paddled to the shore to nibble at plants and preen. The female dashed around the pond for about ten minutes of post-copulatory splashing. 

When the celebration is over, she may lay eggs, and hatch some hybrid chicks with a combination of mallard and black duck features.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your update on the hybrid producing ducks. Since I saw them last year I am excited to see that they have another happy season ahead of them. I also understand much better all the head bobbing and wing flapping thanks to your blog.