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These were taken at Ashbridges Bay in Toronto yesterday.

I'm 98% sure they are all long-tail ducks. Wondering more about sex, age, plumage. 

1. male or female in breeding plumage?

2. The one with the very white head looks too white compared to other females that I've seen, it is actually a juvenile male???

3. female in breeding plumage?


Thank you in advance.

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Working through Pyle, I think they're all females. The middle one is an adult, the other two are youngsters. Adult males look quite different this time of year, and young males should be showing a mix of white feathers on the crown and breast right now. The plumage shown in guides of males with the dark head and white cheek is a spring and summer plumage, and they shouldn't be there yet.

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@psweet Thank you. Yes they do usually look quite different this time of the year which is why the coloration is throwing me off. This is what I usually see:


But in the recent photos the dark ones look too dark to be females but the color doesn't look look right for the males, and the light colored one looks too white to be a female and the definition too well defined.

I thought maybe juveniles or maybe morphing to the different coloration. We did have a minor warm spell -- I hope that didn't mess up the birds.

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Warm spells don't bother the birds, unless it's warm enough to mess with their food source, etc. I don't know of any birds that use local weather conditions to trigger molt -- that's typically daylight length (and physiological condition to an extent). The weather doesn't even trigger migration except in half-hardy birds that are trying to winter fairly far north, and that's mostly southbound.

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