Colusa Ducks

When trying to identify ducks while birding it sometimes seem impossible to identify female ducks unless there is a male nearby. In a pond with thousands of ducks I would have had a hard time identifying the duck on the right in this photo (of course, it doesn’t help that I was so busy focusing on the male on the left that the female is slightly out-of-focus.) With the male in the picture, though, it’s pretty clear that the duck is a female Widgeon.

The same goes for these Cinnamon Teal

where the male is instantly recognizable by its bright color.

By herself, I would have a hard time telling whether this duck was a female Mallard, Widgeon, Gadwall, or Northern Pintail.

Once you notice that she is followed by this gorgeous male Northern Pintail, it’s much easier to see the silhouettes of the two are quite similar — except for the pintail, of course.

The same holds true with this pair of Gadwalls,

though the male looks so similar to the female that I often overlook it in a large flock of ducks.

Still, its subtle colors and refined beauty make it easily distinguishable from any other duck I know.

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