Hybrid Mallard/Northern Shoveler?

Here’s a weird duck I found in Prospect Park this morning while looking for Friday’s Australasian Shoveler:

Male Mallard with some Northern Shoveler like plumage

At first it had its head tucked in, and I thought it was a Northern Shoveler, but when it swam away the head and bill were clearly Mallard like. Probably can’t be sure without a blood sample, but it looks to me like a Mallard x Northern Shoveler. I’m not sure if this is a known (or even possible) combination. Or it could be a hybrid with some other species. Mallards regularly hybridize with almost anything vaguely duck-like. It could also be an escapee exotic from some distant land like the Australasian Shoveler. Just yesterday I miscalled a Cape Shelduck as an immature Black-bellied Whistling Duck. Or it could be a full-blooded drake Mallard with aberrant plumage.

Anyone ever seen a bird like this before? For that matter, is there a good reference that covers all the world’s waterfowl? As Sibley writes, “virtually any of the world’s waterfowl species can occasionally be seen free-flying in North America.”

One Response to “Hybrid Mallard/Northern Shoveler?”

  1. C key Says:


    This duck has been on my pond for a month. When mom and dad show up dad
    Is clearly a northern shovler and mom is a mallard.

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