American x Eurasian Wigeon?
Anas americana x penelope


Photographer

John Oates

Date

21st February 2003

Location

Nene Washes, Cambs.

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These comments on this bird, found by Monica and Owen Marks, who initially suspected it was a hybrid, are by John Oates:

"It certainly isn't a normal adult male American Wigeon, but could it be a
variant? American Wigeons with anomalous characters are usually presumed to
be hybrids. However, is it possible that some are showing the same kind of
variation as seen commonly on Eurasian Wigeons? A bird in British Birds 96:
16 has a trace of rufous behind the eye and is captioned as a "possible
hybrid American x Eurasian". The Nene Washes individual also seemed to show
grey feathers on the mantle (which may have been a result of strong
sunlight), a few apparently white under tail coverts (also on some nearby
Eurasian Wigeons) and some retained eclipse feathers on the lower
nape/mantle. The bird was aged as an adult by the pure white median upper
wing coverts."

Feedback from people, including Steve Votier, author of the above-mentioned identification paper in BB, indicates that this bird is far more likely of mixed origin than a pure American Wigeon. Since then, John has found the 4th picture below, showing that the mantle does seem to be grey, lending further support to it being a hybrid.

Postscript:
The bottom 2 pictures below were photographed by Angus Wilson in New York on 23/2/03 - he explictly went looking for a bird of the Nene Wigeon's appearance. I will wait for feedback.
[Angus runs an excellent website http://www.oceanwanderers.com/ ]


P01763

P01764

P01765

P01779

P01785

P01786

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