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Cinnamon Teal x Blue-winged Teal at Montezuma

Published November 03, 2015
Tags: Life List Happenings, Cinnamon Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Red Fox, Montezuma Wildlife Nature Refuge, MWNR

When a Cinnamon Teal was reported at Montezuma the other day, Willie, Celeste, and I made plans to go check it out.  There was a question raised about the bird's parentage, hybridization with Blue-winged Teal being suspected. Still, we decided it would be fun to see the cinnamon colored male and it would be a good learning to know what to look for on a hybrid of this nature. I never added the bird to my life list just in case it turned out to be a hybrid.  It's more fun to add a life bird later rather than have to remove it!

As the week went along, more and more knowledgeable folks had a chance to scrutinize the bird under improved conditions and, eventually, the determination of the handsome male teal was made: it was a hybrid - Cinnamon Teal crossed with Blue-winged Teal.

The reasons in favor of the hybrid identification were:
  • there was a pale patch surrounding the bill, almost crescent-shaped similar to a Blue-winged Teal's white crescent in the same area
  • there was a pale area near the rump, similar to a Blue-winged Teal
  • the bird has spots like a Blue-winged along its sides, as opposed to the bars a Cinnamon Teal would have
  • this male, even while in transitional plumage, still wasn't as deeply colored as a pure Cinnamon Teal male should be

This was a very good study and I'm very glad we went and saw this rare hybrid. My Seneca County list went up by four birds too, so it was a worthwhile trip in that regard too:  Cackling Goose, Lesser Scaup, Rusty Blackbird, and White-breasted Nuthatch.

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Cinnamon Teal x Blue-winged Teal shown with Blue-winged Teal female
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Cinnamon Teal x Blue-winged Teal preening
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Red Fox seen at MWNR
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Red Fox seen at MWNR