Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Strange looking large bird landed in my yard- Need help identifying it


  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#1 mcwright

mcwright

    Newbie

  • New Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 12:59 PM

I live in upstate new york and had a really strange looking bird land in my yard this morning. I have never see a bird like this before. It stood still in one place on the ground for 35 minutes, so I observed it with binoculars for quite a while but no picture unfortunately. It was the size of a duck and looked a little bit like a duck, but it did not have a duck bill and it's feet were not duck like. It was all black with a white throat and breast area that circled up around the back of the neck. The white area spread into white mottles on the back. Its beak looked gray or purplish and there was a linear tuft or stripe running down back of its head of the same color. Its legs were black as well and not very long. It was a haggard looking bird sitting there all alone doing nothing. Very intrigueing. I have spent hours on the internet trying to figure out what it was but no luck at all. Especially in the duck category, there are no matches, but there is no other category that comes close to the shape of this bird. I am truly stumped and would appreciate if any of you experts can help figure this out.

#2 Aveschapines

Aveschapines

    Helen - la pajarera fantástica

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,320 posts
  • LocationQuetzaltenango, Guatemala

Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:05 PM

Did you look at herons?

Latest lifer: Ruddy-Capped Nightingale-Thrush


#3 Melissa :)

Melissa :)

    bluebird88

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,855 posts
  • LocationWilmington, Delaware

Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:07 PM

Can you describe the bill?

Best Lifers: Iceland Gull, Snowy Owl, Tufted Duck, Barnacle Goose, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Hooded Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler
ABA Life List: 242

World Life List: 271

ABA 2014 List: 72

ABA 2013 List: 227 -/+

Pictures: http://bluebird88.imgur.com


#4 dakid2169

dakid2169

    Advanced Member

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 104 posts
  • LocationBonney Lake,WA

Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:34 PM

It was the size of a duck and looked a little bit like a duck, but it did not have a duck bill and it's feet were not duck like.


To me, this observation suggests either an American Coot or perhaps Common Moorhen that may be partially leucistic. A quick image search on Google will bring up some examples for comparison. I did not want to reproduce an image that I do not own :)

#5 Melissa :)

Melissa :)

    bluebird88

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,855 posts
  • LocationWilmington, Delaware

Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:39 PM

I was thinking American Coot, too. And I also thought of Common Loon, but I'm not sure if that's gonna be it.

Best Lifers: Iceland Gull, Snowy Owl, Tufted Duck, Barnacle Goose, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Hooded Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler
ABA Life List: 242

World Life List: 271

ABA 2014 List: 72

ABA 2013 List: 227 -/+

Pictures: http://bluebird88.imgur.com


#6 mcwright

mcwright

    Newbie

  • New Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:17 PM

Definitely not an American Coot. The coot has a white beak, but the one in my yard had a small grey/lavender colored beak that was difficult for me to see even with binoculars. I figured that if it was a duck, the beak would have been more prominent. The coot also has yellow legs and this bird's legs were black. I did check out loon pictures as well, but nope, that's not it. The loon has very clean lines and promnent speckles. This bird's white area was not cleanly defined and the mottles were also not prominent and were more grayish in color. The white area ringed the lower neck and upper breast. I really appreciate everyone's comments.

#7 Liam

Liam

    Osprey Fanatic

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 21,466 posts
  • LocationHephzibah, GA

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:20 PM

Its beak looked gray or purplish...


Doesn't sound like a coot to me. Coots, especially a leucistic Coot, would have white bills.
To me, this sounds most like a Horned Grebe in transition plumage.

"It was the size of a duck and looked a little bit like a duck, but it did not have a duck bill and it's feet were not duck like" "...all black with a white throat and breast area that circled up around the back of the neck." " Its beak looked gray or purplish and there was a linear tuft or stripe running down back of its head of the same color"


All seem to match a Horned Grebe, but it's highly unlikely in a yard without water, since Grebes and Coots can't take flight without water.
Did this bird fly away, or is it still out there? Pictures help immensely.

4riN89X.png Liam
Flickr | Blog
eBird needs your sightings!

 


#8 mcwright

mcwright

    Newbie

  • New Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:23 PM

Per other suggestions made here, I just looked at commom moorhen and ruled that out based on the beak. I also ruled out heron.

#9 Limpkin

Limpkin

    Advanced Member

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,586 posts
  • LocationAnn Arbor, MI

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:27 PM

http://farm8.staticf...780b3a3c5_c.jpg

^ Horned Grebe

Was also wondering about the possibility of a Domestic Muscovy Duck with a bill deformity, though that does seem quite unlikely. Here's one with a normal bill:

http://upload.wikime...omestic_RWD.jpg

#10 mcwright

mcwright

    Newbie

  • New Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:33 PM

I am most upset that I could not find my camera and dont have a picture to share. The bird flew away when I wasn't looking so I didn't see the take-off, but I did watch it fly in and land. Not a Horned Grebe, as this bird's white marking did not travel up the neck area.

#11 Hawk Henries

Hawk Henries

    Hawk Henries

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 696 posts
  • LocationMaine Coast...

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:36 PM

Just a guess~Northern lapwing????

#12 Liam

Liam

    Osprey Fanatic

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 21,466 posts
  • LocationHephzibah, GA

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:37 PM

Was also wondering about the possibility of a Domestic Muscovy Duck with a bill deformity, though that does seem quite unlikely.


She said the feet were not duck-like. Muscovies have very-duck like feet. :D

4riN89X.png Liam
Flickr | Blog
eBird needs your sightings!

 


#13 mcwright

mcwright

    Newbie

  • New Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:46 PM

There was nothing prominent about this bird's head; it was round, solid black, with no outstanding features. Same for it's legs/feet- nothing prominent or descriptive. It stood a little more upright/taller than a duck does.

#14 spookyjimjams

spookyjimjams

    Northern and Central California birder

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 687 posts
  • LocationTracy, California

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:50 PM

Could this be some kind of petrel or shearwater? I am not really familiar with either.

Lifelist: 240
Latest lifer: Wrentit
I support Ebird.com & the North American Bird Phenology Program!


#15 Melissa :)

Melissa :)

    bluebird88

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,855 posts
  • LocationWilmington, Delaware

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:54 PM

Wait- was it a loon by ay chance?

Best Lifers: Iceland Gull, Snowy Owl, Tufted Duck, Barnacle Goose, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Hooded Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler
ABA Life List: 242

World Life List: 271

ABA 2014 List: 72

ABA 2013 List: 227 -/+

Pictures: http://bluebird88.imgur.com


#16 mcwright

mcwright

    Newbie

  • New Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 03:25 PM

Nope, not a loon. The markings were not the same. A bit of clarification regarding the head description: the back of it's head had a slim, vertical stripe that was the same gray/ lavender color as beak. It was not prominent and I only noticed it when the bird turned his a little. I will keep searching and when I find a match, I will post it here.

#17 mcwright

mcwright

    Newbie

  • New Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 17 April 2012 - 01:00 PM

After further consultation and research, the closest I have come to finding a match is swedish black duck. I don't know if there are non-domesticated breeds of swedish black, but I have confirmed that my home in Saratoga, NY is on a migratory path for wood ducks. Maybe my visitor was some sort of mixed breed wood/swedish black duck. Striking appearance for sure. Thanks for your interest and help.

#18 BarnSwallow

BarnSwallow

    Advanced Member

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 7,869 posts
  • LocationMonkton Maryland

Posted 17 April 2012 - 01:15 PM

A "breed" is, by very definition, domesticated. However, there are plenty of domestics that are feral - they have returned to the wild, and will breed. I don't know if they will hybridize with wood ducks, maybe Liam will be by with an answer.

#19 JimBob

JimBob

    Little SuperBirder

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 13,209 posts
  • LocationSan Diego County

Posted 17 April 2012 - 01:20 PM

A swedish black duck I think is a domestic Mallard. They will likely breed with wild type Mallards.

ABA list: 425 Latest- Black-chinned Sparrow, Mountain Quail
Yearlist: 326 Latest- Black-chinned Sparrow
Yard List- 100!! latest: Olive-sided Flycatcher
My flickr: http://www.flickr.co...s/89595711@N08/  

http://www.youtube.c...a?feature=watch

I may live in San Diego County, but my home and heart will always be in Missouri.


#20 Liam

Liam

    Osprey Fanatic

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 21,466 posts
  • LocationHephzibah, GA

Posted 17 April 2012 - 03:49 PM

My first thought was Swedish Mallard, but you said the bill and feet didn't appear like a duck's. Depending on where you are, they could be more or less probable. If you're in an urban area, you would be more likely to have one passing through your yard than if you're in a rural area.

4riN89X.png Liam
Flickr | Blog
eBird needs your sightings!

 





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users