Image: Joseph Kennedy, 11 March 2008 [larger view].
Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/250s 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:
Look at that tail! The elegant black-and-white patterning of this duck told us at first glance we were looking at a pochard, and there’s really only one species in that group with such a long tail, often held cocked up. Just to be sure, let’s move slowly forward. This bird’s back is jet black, separated from the silvery of the sides by a lavish S-curve. The silver brightens towards the front, becoming a white wedge that reaches up almost to divide the black of the breast from the black of the back.
The head is purplish-black, but far more eloquent than its color is its shape: a nearly vertical nape, a puffy crest, and a very steep forehead, with a definite stop between head and bill. And the bill is silver, with a fine white border at the base, neat white outlining surrounding the nostrils, a broad white subterminal band, and a wide black nail. It all adds up to a Ring-necked Duck.
That eponymous neck ring is visible only when the bird stretches its neck, showing a band of plush brown feathers that in the right light contrast nicely with the head and breast; beginning birders always complain that the bird should be called “ring-billed,” but they forget that the name (a translation of the scientific epithet, collaris) comes from inspection of a bird on its back on a table, a position showing the neck ring to full advantage but leaving the strikingly marked bill unseen.
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