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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The wife and I had an enjoyable hunt over the weekend. However, we got an interesting "hen mallard" that I was curious in hearing the thoughts of the others in determining if it is a hen mallard, a drake mallard, an eclipse late season hatch drake mallard, or a mallard with a hormone imbalance issue. Below are some comparison photos.

Items to note:
1. The "hen mallard" does not have an orange bill
2. The "hen mallard" does not have light brown/tan exterior wings
3. The "hen mallard" has some green patches of feathers around its head
4. The "hen mallard" does not have a white ring around its neck
5. The "hen mallard" does not have a distinct chestnut brown chest (very faint if at all)
5. The "hen mallard" does not have a black v notch on the back side of the tail
6. The "hen mallard" does not have a tail curl.

Thoughts?

Please note we were not hunting near a park or a farm pond with domestic/wonder bread ducks - so not likely a weird hybrid mix.
 

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Thats about as immature a drake as they come.....you can also examine the "white line" across the bottom of the speculum. On the drake it does not go all the way across and stops even with the blue, on the hen the "white line" extends beyond the blue speculum wing patch.

Mystery solved.
 

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To clarify or maybe confuse the good reply above...

The white line (on the greater secondary covers) above the blue speculum (on the secondaries) does not extend onto the greater tertial coverts (closer to the body) in male mallards. If one or more greater tertial covert feather has white edging it should be a female. There doesn't appear to be any white on the greater tertial coverts in your photo so that should indicate a male. The olive bill should also indicate a drake mallard.

That said, there can be a wide range of variability in some feathers and birds with hormonal imbalances can show some unusual feather traits. Google hermaphrodite mallard to see some odd-looking mallards.

Hope this helps, good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Awesome, thank you Marsh-Mello and Joe Hunter for the detailed explaination!
 

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Were they flying as a pair? That may be an indication of what sex it is. Certainly not scientific. You can also sex a bird by spreading its anus. Males will have a little penis that will protrude. Enjoy that one.
 
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