Eurasian Wigeon x Northern Shoveler Hybrid

It’s always worth checking through wintering flocks of wildfowl for some abnormal or unusual birds. An example of this came yesterday when an unusual duck was feeding with the Eurasian Wigeon flock at Penclacwydd.

With the strong winds, it was difficult to get much detail on the bird as the flock continued to feed behind the grass bunkers but when they finally appeared you could see the bird was smaller than the Wigeon and had a very hunkered down structure more towards that of Teal or Shoveler. Euro Wigeon x Northern ShovelerThe bird had the stripe of a Wigeon but an iridescent green colour which again kept Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler in mind, it was the cheeks that was the struggle, neither of the three species had those cheek patches but having a rough idea of what to look for made the research easier and those cheek patches and ‘cream’ colour at the base of the bill is typical of Eurasian Wigeon x Northern Shoveler hybrids.

Euro Wigeon x Northern Shoveler 2.jpgThe tail and white patch are typical of Wigeon and the ginger flanks would also confirm the Euro Wigeon alleles are dominant. The bill is black and larger than Wigeon but not the typical Shoveler bill pointing towards intermediate features of both parents. The part that you would expect which was missing was the pale belly of Wigeon, but then the bird is showing intermediate features of both parents which mean the bird has the brown belly that Northern Shoveler.

The shoddy video below shows the behaviour of the bird and its structure compared to the surrounding Wigeon.

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