Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 20, 1887
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Art. VII.—Note on the Female of Anas boschas assuming the Plumage of the Male.

[Read before the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 14th November, 1887.]

Some eight years ago I made a present of a drake and two ducks, bred by myself from tame English Wild Duck, or Coloured Call Duck, which I obtained from the Dunedin Acclimatisation Society, to a Mr. Baker. A pair of the original birds are now in the possession of Mr. Richard Harding, Waipukurau During January last I noticed the peculiar plumage of the duck. The beak was, as usual, yellow mottled with black, head and neck grey brown, as customary. The rest of the bird was coloured as a mallard in winter plumage, although the colouring might be a trifle more pronounced; curled tail-feathers absent; voice normal. Her mate, the mallard, was in the usual dull plumage which they assume in the summer, without the green head or curled tail-feathers, and to a casual observer would have been picked for the female of the pair. Mr. Harding writes me, August 23rd: “The English duck has still the plumage and all the appearance of the drake, but I fancy I have noticed a slight change this last day or two, a few grey feathers showing about the head. She has not nested for the two previous years.” This would make it appear she had the head green during the winter months.