Sunday, 12 January 2014

About Bird Hybrids

Some years ago I became frustrated with the lack on information about hybrid birds.  Worse than that there seemed to be very little interest in hybrid birds and many birders I talked to seemed to treat such things with contempt.  I received a few sneers when I started the Hybrid Birds group on Flickr but before long this group became active with more and more people contributing, either providing photos or sharing ideas about identification and other subjects.  It became a really useful resource and those of us who were involved found our knowledge and understanding growing.

We still have much to learn.  Changes at Flickr have made the Hybrid Birds group harder to maintain, many contributors have left Flickr and photos in the group have disappeared when their accounts have been deleted.  It was only ever a resource available for Flickr members, and although a few hardcore hybrid enthusiasts joined Flickr just to join the group, I'm sure there are many non-Flickr members with much to contribute.

This project seeks to take some of what has been good in the Flickr group and broaden it out to involve more people with more flexibility.  It sets out to be a collaborative pooling of resources and learning.  As well as covering individual types of hybrid I hope that we will also cover general topics relating to bird hybrids.

The best learning comes from sharing ideas, testing them collectively, and building on them.  Some people prefer not to say anything until they are absolutely certain, for fear of being proved wrong.  In some situations that might just work but it cannot work with hybrid birds - most of us as individuals just don't see hybrids often enough to build and test hypotheses.  But collaborate with others, share ideas and let everyone test, challenge or build on them and we have an opportunity to learn much more effectively.

Because we are still learning we will undoubtedly make some mistakes along the way.  This project will be a journey and at times I am sure we will propose identifications and other theories that subsequently we will need to modify.  This is a necessary part of learning but I raise it here as a warning to anyone coming here looking for hard facts and rock-solid identifications.  We try and indicate levels of uncertainty with words like "possible", "probable", "presumed" etc. but at the end of the day very little can be regarded as genuinely proven fact (if it really is proven then it should say so).  But if you find something here that doesn't ring true why not add a comment explaining why?  And if you know something that we've missed, please share it with us!

More on how to contribute...

9 comments:

  1. You should add a link towards Serge Dumont's web site: http://www.bird-hybrids.com/

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    1. Thanks Alain. Yes, actually I have been thinking that there are 2-3 relevant sites like this that probably warrant linking to from this project, that being one of them. There may be others that I haven't come across too. I will do something about this soon - thanks for the nudge.

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  2. Awesome website. But are you aware that instead of the Yellow-legged Gull, the information posted is for the Caspian Gull? Bruce Robertson 11 June 2017.

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    1. Thanks Bruce - appreciate your kind words. Ah, the Yellow-legged Gull link in the index is wrong... thanks for pointing that out. Now fixed - correct link is http://birdhybrids.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/yellow-legged-gull-intergrades.html

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  3. Thanks for this site! I came across it wondering about domestic muscovy-runner duck (or other) hybrids. (I'm trying to figure out if a hybrid, while sterile, will still lay eggs, I hope and expect so).
    At Zandvlei - Cape Town - we have a problem with mallards crossbreeding with yellow bill ducks. I'm not sure of the details, but if you want, I can collect some info?

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    1. Hi, thanks for the comment. Good question - I don't know the answer for sure (whether sterile hybrids may still lay eggs) but I would guess that they would. I think even unmated ducks can lay infertile eggs, so I can see no reason why a hybrid shouldn't too. But I would welcome any more authorative opinion on this matter.

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  4. E.g. http://www.zandvleitrust.org.za/art-duck%20breeding%20and%20nesting%20info%20required.html

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  5. I found one reference: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/fertile-non-mallard-x-muscovy-cross.838193/

    A user named learycow says:

    Muscovy hens bred with mallard derived drakes (pekins, harlequins, swedish, etc) will give you sterile females (hinnies) and males. But the females will lay eggs.
    Muscovy drakes bred with mallard derived hens will give you sterile males and females and the females won't lay eggs (moulards).

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    1. Ah yes, as we thought then. Good. Well found.

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