Interesting Duck Hybrid and a Harlequin: Feb 18, 2022

Lots of snow last night but the ducks were out in force this morning at Ashbridge’s bay..

Try and identify this duck.

Hooded Merganser / Goldeneye hybrid

No matter which bird guide you consult, you will not find a picture of this little beauty.

Hooded Merganser / Goldeneye hybrid

It helps to see who this individual is chumming with.

Goldeneye (male) and Hooded Merganser / Goldeneye hybrid

The duck is a hybrid between Common Goldeneye and the somewhat smaller Hooded Merganser.

Hooded Merganser (male)

if you cannot find a duck in your field guide, search for “hybrid duck photos” on-line.

Hooded Merganser / Goldeneye hybrid

Another good find here was a female Harlequin Duck.

Harlequin Duck (female)
Harlequin Duck (female)

Harlequin Ducks nest along fast-flowing rocky rivers and spend the winter in salt water. Apparently most suffer various broken bones from their dangerous feeding grounds.

Here is a painting by Barry Kent MacKay of Harlequin Ducks.

Other birds:

Hooded Mergansers
Mallard (male)
Canada Goose
Redhead (male)
Mute Swan
Common Goldeneye (juvenile males)
Greater Scaup (male)
Common Goldeneye
Gadwall (male) and Redhead (male)
Gadwall (male)
Redhead (male)
Mallard (hybrid)
Greater Scaup and Redhead (male)
Long-tailed Ducks
Lesser Scaup (female)
Northern Cardinal (male)
Northern Cardinal (female)
American Robin
Northern Cardinal (male)
American Tree Sparrow
Greater Scaup (female) with Goldeneye
Common Goldeneye (female)
American Robin
Black-capped Chickadee
American Robin

Today’s group:


When February sun shines cold,
There comes a day when in the air
The wings of winter
Slow unfold,
And show the golden summer there.                           – Philip Savage (1868–99)

Miles Hearn

1 thought on “Interesting Duck Hybrid and a Harlequin: Feb 18, 2022

  1. Lisa Volkov

    Gorgeous pictures. These hybrids are simply beautiful and amazing! It makes one wonder why it doesn’t happen more often. Which ducks will they will mate with, and what will the results be? Will dominant genes ensure they “revert to type”? Or?


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