My ducks green head has turned brown!?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by SunnyD, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. SunnyD

    SunnyD Out Of The Brooder

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    I have drake that a member of this forum guessed as a Khaki mix back in September. I sent a picture in at that time (9.17.2009) showing my drake with a beautiful emerald green head. He looks like a Mallard without the white ring on his neck. Now a year later he is much larger than my other Mallards. Anyway, a couple months ago, his beautiful green head turned brown matching the rest of it's body!? I thought maybe he was just a molting, but it has stayed brown. Any ideas? [​IMG]
     
  2. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know with mallards, they go through an Eclipse phase where they molt all their male feathers and stay brown for a little while. It usually happens at the end of the breeding season. But, they will come back pretty soon. I think the wild ones I've seen stayed brown for at least a couple of months, some may have been brown for less time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  3. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is just eclipse plumage. It varies by the individual bird and where you are located. Ours start going into eclipse plumage around June (some individual birds earlier or later than others). They start going back into nuptial plumage around late summer to early Fall. We have some that already started going back to nuptial plumage in the last few weeks. They will keep the green head then again until early summer next year.
     
  4. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    yep, they all do it, it just the eclipse plumage, unfortuantely, all the pretty ones do it every summer, it'll be back later this fall though, dont worry.
    I have rasied thousands of migratory waterfowl for decades, they all do it pretty much.
     
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    He is in eclipse plumage. Nuptual plumage will return this autumn. It's a yearly occurence.
     
  6. SunnyD

    SunnyD Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2009
    Hey thanks everyone! had never heard of "eclipse plumage" or for that matter, "nuptial plumage." I like learning new things and this forum is the perfect place to do so! It's good to know "Tommy's" beautiful green head will return. Quick question: A wild mallard flew onto the lake last month and I assumed he was a young Mallard drake because he's about the same size of my Mallard drake and the fact that he has very little green on his head (I thought it was just starting to turn green.) But now I realize he might be an older Mallard that has "eclipsed". Is there a way to tell, by looking at him, if he's a young or older duck? He decided to stay with my flock and is actually more personable than my two other Mallards.
     
  7. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I'm still learning and people here are helping me, too, so I'm not sure about your question. But, I've noticed that younger males will have greenish bills until about the fourth or fifth month. Afterward, they usually have solid yellow bill with a little black.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010

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