water birds ID

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heva1
heva1's picture
water birds ID

Hi there, took these pics today of 1. a Darter of some sort?... amazing feet which I didn't notice til I put pics on comp and also he seemed to have a sort of expanding yellow chin pouch. I think he expanded this when I got a bit close. 2. A duck with an olive green bill. Any ideas? Denis?..... :)

heva1
heva1's picture

oops forgot Mr Green-bill

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best

DenisWilson
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Hi Heva1
The Darter is a male. Females have white bellies.
I have not noticed the "pouch", but they do have to be able to stretch the mouth and throat to swallow large fish. It is amazing what they can get down that thin neck.
The webbing on the feet presumably helps them swim. Some birds "fly" underwater (using their wings for propulsion) but from memory, Cormorants and presumably these guys paddle. Therefore, large flippers would be a great advantage.
.
I did notice on the David Attenborough program last night that the Giullemots were "flying" underwater, as do Penguins.
Wikipedia confirms that "Under water (Cormorants) propel themselves with their feet."
.
Your duck is a normal "Pacific Black Duck" - i.e., the regular Black Duck.
http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/finder/display.cfm?id=73
The colour of the beak might vary according to light/wetness of the beak/or hormonal factors. In some cases it appears bluish.
One thing to watch out for is orange legs - as female Mallards look very similar to Black Ducks, but they are a bit larger and have orange legs.
Cheers
Denis

heva1
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Hi Denis, so from what you are saying and from my field guide, the earlier post was a Mallard. and this post is a Pacific black duck (even though his legs look a bit orange to me in the photo).
When you say the darters 'fly' underwater do you mean they flap thier wings like when they fly? that's very interesting, I would like to see underwater footage of that.

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best

DenisWilson
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Hi Hev
I think those 2 ducks are both Black Ducks.
I meant clear orange coloured leg - it is really obvious. And there is a size difference (whioch is not apparent there).
You got the "flying underwater" part right, but NOT for Darters and Cormorants. Penguins do it - they flap their wings underwater. And I saw on that TV program on Sunday night that the Guillemots (Northern Hemisphere fishing birds) also do the same.
see picture here: http://www.schools.ash.org.au/aismalaysia/ADELINE/emperor_penguin.htm
"The little Penguin “flies” underwater with a wing stroke that resembles aerial flight but uses muscular force in both the up and down stroke. The penguin’s body is streamlined and shaped like a torpedo and when swimming the short legs are stretched backwards to minimise drag. The legs are not used for propulsion, but in conjunction with the tail act as rudders and are also used for braking purposes."
Source: http://www.gowest.com.au/little-fairy-penguins.html
Darters and Cormorants propel themselves with their feet, i.e., paddling.
Hope that helps.
Denis

heva1
heva1's picture

Hi Denis, yes it helps a lot. Am in Beaufort now camping and birding 'cos the weather is so good. There has been lots of rain since my last visit here and already I've noticed a lot more bird life as the lake has a (little) water in it. Will be trying to get some good shots of some purple swamp hens.

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best

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