Date of this Version
Jorgensen, “Mystery Duck at Sinninger Waterfowl Production Area, York County,” from Nebraska Bird Review (March 1998) 66(1).
On the evening of 8 May 1997, I was scanning the shorebirds and ducks at the cattleyard basin of Sinninger WPA, York County. Most of the 300 or so puddle ducks were Bluewinged Teals (Anas discors), but also present were Green-winged Teal (A. crecca), American Wigeon (A. americana), Gadwall (A. strepera), Northern Shoveler (A. clypeata), and a Cinnamon Teal (A. cyanoptera). I eventually noticed a male duck in breeding plumage that superficially resembled a Baikal Teal (A. formosa). All descriptive discussion that follows is of male ducks in breeding plumage.
The bird was similar in size, shape, and behavior to the Green-winged Teals present. The bill was black. The pattern of the head is difficult to describe, but only two colors were involved—dark green and a buffy yellow or cream. The dark green extended in front and below the eye in a circular pattern up to the crown and back toward the nape. The pattern was reminiscent of the green area on the head of an American Wigeon, but on this bird the crown, nape, and hindneck also were green. The area near the base of the bill, the throat, and the side of the neck were a warm, buffy yellow. The breast was a pinkish brown color, which faded into gray along the flanks and mantle. The flanks also possessed indistinct blackish vermiculations. The "rear" (undertail and uppertail coverts and tail) portion of the bird was black. There was a small area of white adjacent to the black undertail coverts, a feature present on Northern Shoveler and American Wigeon.