Hybrid Ducks

Ducks hybridise readily, both in captivity and among wild populations. Identifying hybrids is fraught with difficulties. Not only are they highly variable but they do not always simply show a mix of each parent species' features. Indeed there are instances of hybrids bearing a more striking resemblance to a third species than to either of their two parent species.

If you've reached this page because you're looking to identify an unfamiliar duck that you suspect may be a hybrid or cross-breed then I suggest checking the note at the bottom of this page.

Regular visitors to this page will notice far fewer photos than before - it was getting unwieldy so I am now only showing examples of each hybrid here, with links to separate pages that contain more details and more photos of each type of hybrid.

 

White-faced Whistling-Duck x Black-billed Whistling-Duck

White-faced Whistling-Duck x Black-billed Whistling-Duck

captive presumed White-faced Whistling-Duck x Black-billed Whistling-Duck hybrid, Blakeney Collection (Norfolk, UK), 6th October 2012

For more photos and comment on this bird, click here.

 

White-faced Whistling-Duck x Fulvous Whistling-Duck

White-faced Whistling-Duck x Fulvous Whistling-Duck

captive presumed White-faced Whistling-Duck x Fulvous Whistling-Duck hybrid, Pensthorpe (Norfolk, UK), 9th March 2014

For more photos and comment on this bird, click here.

 

Egyptian Goose x Mallard

Egyptian Goose x Mallard

Egyptian Goose x domestic Mallard hybrid, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 21st September 2007

Egyptian Goose x Mallard

Egyptian Goose x domestic Mallard hybrid, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 9th August 2008

Egyptian Goose x Mallard

Egyptian Goose x domestic Mallard hybrid, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 24th March 2008

For more photos and comment on this group of 4 birds, click here.

 

Australian Shelduck x Ruddy Shelduck

Australian Shelduck x Ruddy Shelduck

captive Australian Shelduck x Ruddy Shelduck hybrid, Grange-over-Sands (Cumbria, UK), 28th December 2011

For more photos and comment on this bird, click here.

 

Shelduck x Wood Duck

Shelduck x Wood Duck

Shelduck x Wood Duck hybrid, Stirling (Stirlingshire, UK), 29th December 2013

Shelduck x Wood Duck

Shelduck x Wood Duck hybrid, Stirling (Stirlingshire, UK), 29th December 2013

For more photos and comment on these birds, click here.

 

Muscovy Duck x Mallard

Muscovy Duck x Mallard

domestic Muscovy Duck x Mallard hybrid, Tattersett (Norfolk, UK), 20th April 2011

Muscovy Duck x Mallard

domestic Muscovy Duck x Mallard hybrid, Tattersett (Norfolk, UK), 20th April 2011

Muscovy Duck x Mallard

domestic Muscovy Duck x Mallard hybrid, Tattersett (Norfolk, UK), 10th March 2011

Muscovy Duck x Mallard

domestic Muscovy Duck x Mallard hybrid, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 16th February 2008

For more photos of these birds, click here.

 

Wood Duck x Pintail

Wood Duck x Pintail

possible intersex Wood Duck x Pintail hybrid, Holkham Park (Norfolk, UK), 4th February 2012

The identity of this hybrid is far from certain but for more photos and comment, click here.

 

Wigeon x Chiloe Wigeon

Wigeon x Chiloe Wigeon

captive Wigeon x Chiloe Wigeon hybrid, Pensthorpe (Norfolk, UK), 9th March 2014

Wigeon x Chiloe Wigeon

captive Wigeon x Chiloe Wigeon hybrid, Pensthorpe (Norfolk, UK), 9th March 2014

For more photos and comment on these birds, click here.

 

Wigeon x Gadwall

Wigeon x Gadwall

Wigeon x Gadwall hybrid, Whitlingham CP (Norfolk, UK), 6th March 2011

Wigeon x Gadwall

released possible Wigeon x Gadwall hybrid, Leathes Ham, Lowestoft (Suffolk, UK), 11th February 2012 - this bird may in fact be a trigen involving Wigeon, Gadwall and Pintail!

Wigeon x Gadwall

released Wigeon x Gadwall hybrid, Leathes Ham, Lowestoft (Suffolk, UK), 11th February 2012

For more photos and comment on these birds, click here.

 

Wigeon x Pintail

Wigeon x Pintail

presumed Wigeon x Pintail hybrid, Leathes Ham, Lowestoft (Suffolk, UK), 8th November 2014

For comment on this bird, click here.

 

Teal x Green-winged Teal

Teal x Green-winged Teal

Teal x Green-winged Teal hybrid, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 10th February 2008

For another photo and comment on this bird, click here.

 

Speckled Teal x White-cheeked Pintail

Teal x Speckled Teal x White-cheeked Pintail

captive possible Speckled Teal x White-cheeked Pintail hybrid, Blakeney Collection (Norfolk, UK), 24th November 2013

For more photos and comment on this bird, click here.

 

Laysan Duck x Mallard

Laysan Duck x Mallard

'ginger' variant Laysan Duck, Blakeney Collection (Norfolk, UK), 12th March 2011

Known as just a variant of Laysan Duck but I find it hard to believe they don't have any Mallard involvement at all. For more photos and comment on this bird, click here.

 

Mallard x Yellow-billed Duck

Mallard x Yellow-billed Duck

domestic Mallard x Yellow-billed Duck hybrid, Porthloo, St Mary's (Scilly, UK), 3rd October 2007

Mallard x Yellow-billed Duck

domestic Mallard x Yellow-billed Duck hybrid, Porthloo, St Mary's (Scilly, UK), 3rd October 2007

Mallard x Yellow-billed Duck

possible domestic Mallard x Yellow-billed Duck hybrid, Porthloo, St Mary's (Scilly, UK), 6th August 2010

Mallard x Yellow-billed Duck

probable domestic Mallard x Yellow-billed Duck hybrid, Porth Hellick, St Mary's (Scilly, UK), 9th August 2010

Mallard x Yellow-billed Duck

probable domestic Mallard x Yellow-billed Duck hybrid, Porth Hellick, St Mary's (Scilly, UK), 9th August 2010

For more photos and comment on these birds, click here.

 

Mallard x Spot-billed Duck

Mallard x Spot-billed Duck

captive Mallard x Spot-billed Duck hybrids, possibly backcrossed with Spot-billed Duck, Blakeney Collection (Norfolk, UK), 16th April 2011

Mallard x Spot-billed Duck

captive Mallard x Spot-billed Duck hybrid, Blakeney Collection (Norfolk, UK), 24th November 2013

For more photos and comment on these birds, click here.

 

Mallard x Red-crested Pochard

Mallard x Red-crested Pochard

Mallard (probably domestic variant) x Red-crested Pochard hybrid, Cleethorpes Boating Lake (Lincolnshire, UK), 7th April 2012

For more photos and comment on this bird, click here.

 

Yellow-billed Pintail x Laysan Duck

Yellow-billed Pintail x Laysan Duck

possible Yellow-billed Pintail x Laysan Duck hybrid, Stilring (Stirlingshire, UK), 29th December 2013

For more photos and comment on this hybrid, click here.

 

Shoveler x Blue-winged Teal

Shoveler x Blue-winged Teal

Shoveler x Blue-winged Teal hybrid, Titchwell (Norfolk, UK), 7th April 2001

For comment on this hybrid, click here.

 

Teal sp. (Anas sp.) x diving duck (Aythya sp.)

Dabbling duck x Diving duck hybrid

probable Teal sp. x Tufted Duck hybrid, Cantley BF (Norfolk, UK), 24th February 2008

The ID of this tricky bird is uncertain - for more photos and comment, click here.

 

Red Shoveler x Ferruginous Duck

Red Shoveler x Ferruginous Duck

captive Anas sp. (possibly Red Shoveler) x Ferruginous Duck hybrid, Blakeney Collection (Norfolk, UK), 4th December 2010

Probably Ferruginous Duck x one of the dabbling ducks, but whether or not the latter was Red Shoveler is less certain - for more photos and comment, click here.

 

Red-crested Pochard x Scaup

Red-crested Pochard x Scaup

captive possible Red-crested Pochard x Scaup hybrid, Blakeney Collection (Norfolk, UK), 9th November 2013

Although Red-crested Pochard parentage seems fairly certain the Scaup half is much less certain - the other parent could perhaps be the unidentified Aythya hybrid shown below - for more photos and comment, click here.

 

Rosybill x Pochard

Rosybill x Pochard

captive probable Rosybill x Pochard hybrid, Blakeney Collection (Norfolk, UK), 18th January 2004

Rosybill x Pochard

captive possible Rosybill x Pochard hybrid, Blakeney Collection (Norfolk, UK), 18th January 2004

A pair of birds that don't seem to be quite right for pure Rosybill - for more photos and comment, click here.

 

Ferruginous Duck x Pochard

Ferruginous Duck x Pochard

Ferruginous Duck x Pochard hybrid, Martham Broad (Norfolk, UK), 29th November 2009

Ferruginous Duck x Pochard

Ferruginous Duck x Pochard hybrid, Cockshoot Broad (Norfolk, UK), 12th November 2011

For more photos and comment on these hybrids, click here.

 

Ferruginous Duck x Scaup

Ferruginous Duck x Scaup

captive unidentified hybrid, perhaps Ferruginous Duck x Scaup, Blakeney Collection (Norfolk, UK), 4th December 2010

I've changed my mind more than once about the identity of this hybrid - each time I have been uncertain and it still remains without a positive ID. More photos and comment on this bird, click here.

 

Ferruginous Duck x Tufted Duck

Ferruginous Duck x Tufted Duck

Ferruginous Duck x Tufted Duck hybrid, Wroxham Broad (Norfolk, UK), 24th December 2011

Ferruginous Duck x Tufted Duck

Ferruginous Duck x Tufted Duck hybrid, Stirling (Stirlingshire, UK), 29th December 2013

Ferruginous Duck x Tufted Duck

probable Ferruginous Duck x Tufted Duck hybrids, Stirling (Stirlingshire, UK), 29th December 2013

For more photos and comment on these and another bird, click here.

 

Pochard x Tufted Duck

Pochard x Tufted Duck

Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid (with Tufted Duck), Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 27th December 2008

Pochard x Tufted Duck

possible Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid (with Tufted Duck), Gwithian Sands (Cornwall, UK), 19th November 2013

For more photos and comment on these and another bird, click here.

 

Scaup x Tufted Duck

Scaup x Tufted Duck

probable Scaup x Tufted Duck hybrid, Salhouse Broad (Norfolk, UK), 1st January 2013

For more photos and comment on this and another bird, click here.

 

Hooded Merganser x Smew

Hooded Merganser x Smew

captive Hooded Merganser x Smew hybrid, Blakeney Collection (Norfolk, UK), 15th October 2011

Hooded Merganser x Smew

captive Hooded Merganser x Smew hybrid, Blakeney Collection (Norfolk, UK), 11th April 2009

For more photos and comment on these birds, click here.

 

Many thanks to Joern Lehmhus, Carl Gunnar Gustavsson, Henry Lehto, Lars Michael Nielson and others for their valuable input on the hybrids shown on this page.

 

Note - a lot of people land on this page when trying to identify an unfamiliar duck which they think may be a hybrid. 9 times out of 10 the bird they are looking for is in fact a domestic variant of Mallard. The various domesticated forms of Mallard, or 'breeds', were originally obtained through human-controlled selective breeding of Mallards. Many look nothing like wild Mallards in plumage, structure or size (some are huge!) Poultry and waterfowl keepers' associations have come up with appearance standards to which any domestic duck must conform in order to be accepted as one of their named breeds, and any that do not conform to one or other breed are described as impure, or "cross-breeds". However pure breed or cross breed, they're all biologically Mallards, descended from wild Mallards, and have no genetic influence from any other species. Whilst breeders, members of the public and even some birders often describe these cross-breeds as hybrids it is much better to reserve the term "hybrid" for crosses between two different species. The only domesticated ducks that are not descended from Mallards are Muscovy Ducks, and so the only domestic cross-breed that can accurately be described as a hybrid is a Mallard x Muscovy Duck hybrid. Some of those are shown here, but for domestic variants of Mallard I have a page showing some of the different variants here.