Sunday, November 3, 2013

Duck Duck Goose

Warning: woman with camera and a book on birds.

I believe these are Chinese Geese. Both of them, the brownish and the white, match pictures I see. The White Chinese Goose I compare to pictures on Bird-Friends; the darker one I've seen on so many pages and in books.
Bird lovers, perhaps you can help?
These pictures were taken at Averill Park in San Pedro on November 3. There were hundreds of Mallard ducks and quite a few geese. I think they are Chinese Geese but would appreciate corrections.

As for ducks, the non-mallards have me confused. My handy-dandy National Geographic book on Birds of North American seems to have given ducks short shrift. I see no Poofy Ducks, which is how my friend and I referred to these black and white duckies with a big cotton-ball poof of feathers on their head.

They are also called Crested Ducks. Wikipedia says they are descended from Mallards.

They come in a caramel and white variety too, as you can see below. According to the 10,000Birds website, those could be Buff Orpington domestic duck.

Mallards, I read there, are dirty birds, cross breeding like crazy, which may explain some of the other ducks I saw. Like a mostly black duck with the emerald green head of a male Mallard. That's apparently a classic cross of Mallard and American Black Duck
.But Avian Web says that Crested Ducks come from South America, and they have a picture of  a duck that looks a lot like the one below.

November 23 update: please check out the comment from Doug Peterson, who identified the black duck at left as a Cayuga, and the ones at right as a Fawn & White Indian Runner, both crested and none, and the crested duck above with the Mallards as likely a Crested Ancona. His blog provides a lot more information on them! That blog is't know why it's not showing above.

This one is a Muscovy duck, I think.
When it comes to ducks, identification seems a lot fuzzier than identifying hawks or finches. I think it's because of those oversexed skanky Mallards, frankly.


Doug Peterson said...

Hi Vickey,

I believe the two geese are indeed Chinses Geese and I think they are both males because of the size of the knobs above their bills although it's not a flawless way to sex them. Voice and size are better ways to tell their sex.

The black and white duck is probably a Crested Ancona. We have one of them on our local pond that isn't crested and I've always wondered if he's an Ancona or a Magpie duck. Magpies have less blotches and the birds bred for show are supposed to have dark markings on their head and back nut not on their sides and chests.

The black duck is a Cayuga. East Indian ducks have the same coloration but are smaller. We have one of those here, too. He's a really friendly guy and comes right up to park visitors.

You also have a Fawn and White Indian Runner and a Crested version of the same species. That breed is known for their ability to lay eggs while the other two domestic breed mentioned above are both primarily raised for their meat.

Crested ducks are bred for show. The poof of feathers is caused by a deformity in the skull which has been selectively bred over decades or centuries.

If you would like more information about these breeds of farm ducks, visit my blog at and type in the species in the search box. There's information and links to more.

Best wishes,

Doug Peterson

Vickey Kall said...

Thank you Doug!
I'm enjoying your blog, and given the weather in Michigan lately, thought I'd include a link to Mallard ducks in the snow:

Doug Peterson said...

Hi Again, Vickey. I think I erred with the breed of your black duck. If it's a really large duck, it's more likely a Rouen. In looking at it again, I realized it has a light colored bill. Cayugas usually have dark bills. See our millpond's Cayuga named Dazzle at

Rouens are a breed from France and often called Giant Mallards because they look very similar but weigh 10-12 pounds compared to the Mallards that don't usually get larger than about 4 pounds.

Here are three of our millpond's Rouens: The ducks on urban ponds are so interbred, you'll see a lot of color variations and it also depends upon the hatcheries genetic strains.

Oh, yes. We have snow. Lots of it. Bet you wish some of it was in your mountains to provide water for this next summer. You're welcome to come and grab a few truckloads from my neighborhood. We have about a foot on the ground right now and wish it would go away. :-)

Vickey Kall said...

I'll have to get back over there to check on the size, but I don't think the duck was noticeably larger than the Mallards. And yeah, we'll take your snow! Just ship it High Sierras
c/o History Los Angeles.