Monday, 8 May 2017

White Ibis x Scarlet Ibis

White Ibis x Scarlet Ibis hybrid, Aruba Salina (Aruba, off Venezuela), 12th April 2017 - copyright Steve Mlodinow
(photo ID: 3202)


Steve tells us that this hybrid isn't at all rare in some colonies in northern Venezuela and Columbia leading some to speculate that Scarlet and White Ibises are colour morphs of the same species.  In an article in Colonial Waterbirds 10.1 111-114, Cristina Ramo and Benjamin Busto document 40 mixed pairs and 14 mixed copulations in the Venezuelan Llanos and proposed that they should be treated as different subspecies of one species.  But whether they are colour morphs, different subspecies or different species, most if not all of the main taxonomic authorities are still treating them as separate species at the moment.

It is reported that captive Scarlet Ibises receiving inadequate levels of β-keratin in their diet turn pink, and such birds may be difficult to distinguish from hybrids (see The Chat 53: 90-91 for example).  If anyone has any information on how they may be differentiated, please get in touch.

In Aruba neither species is common.  Steve tells us that Scarlet Ibis has been nearly annual during the last 5 years, with 2-3 birds involved. This is the first hybrid.  A White Ibis with an abnormally dark bill turned up the day after the hybrid - here they are together:

White Ibis x Scarlet Ibis hybrid (right, with White Ibis; same bird as in photo ID 3202 above), Aruba Salina (Aruba, off Venezuela), 14th April 2017 - copyright Steve Mlodinow
(photo ID: 3203)


White Ibis Eudocimus albus
Scarlet Ibis Eudocimus ruber

Bufflehead x Hooded Merganser

Bufflehead x Hooded Merganser hybrid (right, with Bufflehead), Firestone Gravel Pits, Weld County (Colorado, USA), 2nd May 2017 - copyright Steve Mlodinow
(photo ID: 3218)


Steve notes that that there is a bit of a crest, which changes in shape over time as the bird assumes different attitudes.  The white on the head is also oriented more towards rear than top.  The bill and tail are longer than those of a Bufflehead, with the entire bird being a bit larger as well.

Bufflehead x Hooded Merganser hybrid (same bird as in photo ID 3218 above), Firestone Gravel Pits, Weld County (Colorado, USA), 2nd May 2017 - copyright Steve Mlodinow
(photo ID: 3219)



Bufflehead Bucephala albeola
Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus

White-cheeked Pintail x Cape Teal

White-cheeked Pintail x Cape Teal hybrid (with White-cheeked Pintail), JCB Lakes, Rocester (Staffordshire, UK), 11th April 2017 - copyright Philip Ridsdale
(photo ID: 3201)


The White-cheeked Pintail influence in this bird is fairly obvious but for me the other parent wasn't so clear.  Thanks to Joern for pointing us to the correct ID.

White-cheeked Pintail x Cape Teal hybrid (same bird as in photo ID 3201 above), JCB Lakes, Rocester (Staffordshire, UK), 11th April 2017 - copyright Philip Ridsdale
(photo ID: 3200)



White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahamensis
Cape Teal Anas capensis

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Recent updates

Black-headed Gull x Mediterranean Gull hybrid, Christopher Cadbury Reserve, Upton Warren (Worcestershire, UK), 12th March 2017 - copyright John Oates
(photo ID: 3173)


Here's another of our regular posts letting you know what pages have been updated in the project recently.  As always, a big thanks to all who have contributed photos and/or insights, and if you haven't done yet or have more to offer then please get in touch.  You can comment on any thread if you have anything to say about the hybrids or topics covered, and if you have any photos you would be willing for us to use, please let us know (e.g. by emailing us).

The recent updates are summarised below but remember you can find an index list linking you to ALL the bird hybrids featured so far here:
And an index list of all the bird hybrid topics covered so far here:



So, the recent updates are:


New Bird Hybrid page added for:

New photos added to:

Text updated in:


Don't forget you can follow us on Twitter at @BirdHybrids

Enjoy browsing - and please do contribute where you can!

Tufted Duck x Lesser Scaup

Tufted Duck x Lesser Scaup hybrid, Ambleside Duckpond, West Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada), 19th March 2007 - copyright Paul Kusmin
(photo ID: 3144)


It seems pretty clear that this bird is a Tufted Duck x Scaup sp. hybrid but whether Greater or Lesser Scaup is involved is not so straightforward.  The coarseness of the vermiculations on the upperpart is different from at least some Tufted Duck x Greater Scaup hybrids and I think that is very likely to point to Lesser Scaup parentage.  In the two photos (above and below) the darkness of the upperparts looks different - that is often true in Tufted Duck x Scaup sp. hybrids, varying according to light and angle to the observer.

Tufted Duck x Lesser Scaup hybrid (same bird as in photo ID 3144 above), Ambleside Duckpond, West Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada), 16th March 2007 - copyright Paul Kusmin
(photo ID: 3145)


Tufted Duck x Lesser Scaup was the suggested ID for the following bird on the other side of the Atlantic (Tufted Ducks are vagrants among Lesser Scaup in North America while Lesser Scaups are vagrants among Tufted Ducks in Europe, so the hybrid is just as likely to occur on either continent).  The identification of this bird was discussed but I couldn't see that any clear conclusions were reached - as always, comments welcome.  There is also a video of this bird on YouTube.

possible Tufted Duck x Lesser Scaup hybrid, Møllekrogen (Denmark), 14th October 2016 - copyright Rasmus Strack
(photo ID: 3065)



Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Recent updates

apparent Great Blue Heron x Great Egret hybrid, Fort de Soto Park, Pinellas County (Florida, USA), 17th August 2016 - copyright Dave Norgate
(photo ID: 2976)


At last I have managed to clear nearly all of the backlog of photos waiting to be uploaded here since my previous update, far too long ago.  Below is a summary of what's gone in.

As always, a big thanks to all who have contributed photos and/or insights, and if you haven't done yet or have more to offer then please get in touch.  You can comment on any thread if you have anything to say about the hybrids or topics covered, and if you have any photos you would be willing for us to use, please let us know (e.g. by emailing us).

The recent updates are summarised below but remember you can find an index list linking you to ALL the bird hybrids featured so far here:
And an index list of all the bird hybrid topics covered so far here:



So, the recent updates are:


New Bird Hybrid pages added for:

New photos added to:

Text updated in:


Don't forget you can follow us on Twitter at @BirdHybrids

Enjoy browsing - and please do contribute where you can!

Dunlin x White-rumped Sandpiper

Dunlin x White-rumped Sandpiper hybrid, Rock Point Provincial Park (Ontario, Canada), 19th May 2016 - copyright Chris Cheatle
(photo ID: 2931)


There have now been quite a range of hybrid shorebirds recorded but this is the first calidrid hybrid we have featured in the Bird Hybrids project.  Hopefully others will follow soon...

Apparently Chris's excellent set of photos were reviewed by two published shorebird authors, an OFO (Ontario Federation of Ornithologists) and EBird reviewer and confirmed as this combination by all. This spring bird appears to be in breeding plumage - juveniles moult out of juvenile plumage during their first winter and the patterning and freshness of the feathers in May mean these are not retained non-breeding feathers.  Once that is understood it becomes clear that no pure species fits the bill.  The head pattern and the breast spotting running down the foreflanks recalls White-rumped Sandpiper whereas the rufous in the scapulars is too extensive for that species.  The bill is intermediate between the two species and Chris reports that the rump was generally white.








Dunlin x White-rumped Sandpiper hybrid (same bird as in phtoo ID 2931 above), Rock Point Provincial Park (Ontario, Canada), 19th May 2016 - copyright Chris Cheatle
(photo IDs: 2932-2939)



Dunlin Calidris alpina
White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis