Somerset Ornithological Society - Bird News
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Possible Melanistic Duck

This is the first time I have used this site, therefore apologies if I make any mistakes!

For the last two days, on my way to work in Wells, there has been a black duck on the Moat, Bishop's Palace, Wells.

I have been unable to identify it, and it has been suggested to me that it is possibly a Melanistic Duck. Today, I managed to get some pics (awful pics, I'm afraid, as it was torrential rain at 08.30hrs, when I took them)!

It is a little smaller than the mallards that it is hanging around with, but has all the characteristics of a mallard, including it's "quack"! I'm afraid I know very little about wildfowl and water birds, and am hoping that someone can perhaps identify it. It's feathers are iredescent, almost the colour of a magpie. I do think it is melanistic, but it would be great if it can confirmed, and also positively identified.

There are some very poor pics on my web-site, see below for link

I would be very grateful if anyone can take a look. Many Thanks,

Lynne Newton (aka Foxybiddy!)

Re: Possible Melanistic Duck

Hi Lynne

it looks like a Cayuga Duck, which is one of the domesticated duck forms. They are not really melanistic, more they are bred that way.

Our neighbours have a few of them waddling about in their field!

Rich M

Re: Possible Melanistic Duck

Hi Rich,
yes, thanks for that, I've just googled it, and it does look very similar, although this one is predominantly purple, whereas the cayuga ducks are predominantly green. It doesn't seem to be in the least bit bothered by the presence of people, which may be an indication that it is some kind of domesticated duck!

Re: Possible Melanistic Duck

This duck was very vocal this morning - call sounded slightly louder and harsher than a Mallard . The green 'colouring' was showing beautifully in this mormings brief spell of sunshine.