Duck Date



Last February I wrote about a pair of interesting puddle ducks I saw in Brooklyn Bridge Park. She was a ,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 today in the same spot today.

This is the female mallard

Both genders of 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 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 and black features.

Julie Feinstein

Julie Feinstein

I am a Collection Manager at the American Museum of Natural History, an author, and a photographer. I live in New York City. I recently published my first popular science book, Field Guide to Urban Wildlife, an illustrated collection of natural history essays about common animals. I update my blog, Urban Wildlife Guide, every Sunday.

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Julie Feinstein

Julie Feinstein

I am a Collection Manager at the American Museum of Natural History, an author, and a photographer. I live in New York City. I recently published my first popular science book, Field Guide to Urban Wildlife, an illustrated collection of natural history essays about common animals. I update my blog, Urban Wildlife Guide, every Sunday.

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