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Headless duck

Posted on Mar 24, 2014

A great variety of ducks have been pouring through Connecticut in the last month. Visiting any open coastal location inevitably leads to some excellent sightings of a bunch of species. The Housatonic River has some terrific spots to find birds like this “headless” individual.

Headless duck Stratford
I feel like not seeing the head of this bird still makes for an easy identification…but that may because I know what it is. Huh? It can be disconcerting to try to identify a species when you cannot even see any part of the neck or head. There is something in our minds that turns it into a confusing effort.

However, if you look at the body, noting the feather color and “style” of this bird you should be able to figure it out. There is a bunch of drab and brown or dark ducks in the eastern U.S. but the white patch helps as does the contrasting black near the rear.

Does this work?

Gadwall Stratford
That is a Gadwall (Anas strepera)! This guy was resting and preening with some additional Gadwall as well as American Black Ducks, Mallards and Green-winged Teals while American Coots, Red-breasted and Hooded Mergansers swam around nearby. It may stay in Connecticut and breed locally or keep moving through. Either way I appreciated the opportunity to have a comfortable close-up view of the subtle beauty of the species.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch