[Tweeters] Tufted Duck hybrid at Chambers Bay, Pierce Co.

Wayne Weber contopus at telus.net
Thu Dec 7 14:21:18 PST 2017


Yesterday about 11:30 AM, while birding at Chambers Bay just north of
Steilacoom, I discovered a bird which I thought at first was a drake TUFTED
DUCK. It was in a group with 3 Lesser Scaup in the estuary, about 100 metres
east of the railway bridge. It had a very obvious tuft and a blackish back,
unlike the scaup which accompanied it. However, as I got closer looks at the
bird, it could be seen that the anterior (forward) part of the back was
gray, with darker cross-barring, not the jet-black that one expects to see
on a Tufted Duck. The tuft was also short for a Tufted Duck. For these
reasons, I believe that it was a hybrid TUFTED DUCK x SCAUP SP., not a pure
Tufted Duck. The scaup parent was more likely Greater Scaup than Lesser,
because Lesser Scaup are not found in the Old World where Tufted Ducks

I got several good photos of the bird with the scaup, which I hope to post
in the near photo when I solve some problems I am currently having with
uploading photos to eBird.

If other birders succeed in finding and photographing this bird, I would
appreciate other opinions on its parentage, but contrary to my initial
hopes, I don't think it is a pure Tufted Duck. Over the last 20 years or so,
we have recorded numerous Tufted Duck x scaup hybrids in the Vancouver, BC
area where I live. The hybrids have not been seen as often in the last few
years, but all purported Tufted Ducks in our area should be looked at
carefully for signs of hybrid origin.

Wayne C. Weber

Delta, BC

contopus at telus.net

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