Image: Joseph Kennedy, 11 March 2008 [larger view].
Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/200s f/8.0 at 500.0mm iso400.
Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.
Rick Wright, Managing Director of WINGS Birding Tours Worldwide, writes:
This photo should fill you with a flush of accomplishment: rather than running to the field guide, you just looked at the tail, didn’t you, and immediately figured out that this was a female Ring-necked Duck.
The trick with brown ducks is that structurally they almost always closely resemble the bright males. Compare this brown Ring-neck with the fine black-and-silver drake from an earlier quiz [GrrlScientist comment: oops! I haven’t shown you that duck yet, sorry], and you’ll see that they share the long, cocked tail, the vertical nape, the steep forehead, and the slightly undersized bill; she may be ever so slightly less extravagant in those structural features, but they are still readily discernible, making this one of those birds you can identify at half a mile from a speeding car.
And in a view like this, we can use a few of the old “field marks” to confirm our analysis: the back is blackish, and the border between the back and the rather cold-colored sides is lavishly curved. The secondaries are dull silver. The face is paler than the crown, and there is a neat eye ring with a bridle mark trailing off behind. And the bill has a narrow white subterminal band behind the broad blackish tip.
But all you really needed was the length of the tail and the angle of the nape. Try it — it works.
Review all mystery birds to date.