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Discussion in 'Taxidermy Forum' started by Bug Doc, Jan 31, 2016.
Gotta give a shoutout to stuffinducks for another beautiful bird.
So did he find girl or boy parts under the hood?
He didn't say, so I'm assuming he didn't stop to look. I spent quite a bit of time researching this, and could not find any references to male mallards with orange/black bills, but plenty of references to old or injured hens developing male plumage. Gonna go with Occam's Razor here.
I'm confused that you call it an old hen, but didn't look yourself or ask the taxidermist what sex organs he found. Seems you could have validated the assumption.
I never considered there would be any question until after the bird was frozen. At the time I believed that the bill color was a 100% indication of gender. After a good deal of research, I'm still pretty well convinced of this (with the possible exception of rare XXY individuals), as I have yet to find any references to known drake mallards with orange/black bills. Given that one type of transformation (i.e. old hen mallard) is well documented and the other (drake with hen bill) doesn't seem to be documented at all, I believe the former is certainly correct. Do you have any links to information regarding the latter? I'd be interested in reading them.
There are other hen characteristics, as well. There are definite black spotted hen-type feathers mixed in the chestnut chest feathers, the belly has a light mottled pattern (not brown like a juvy mallard, but slightly darker gray polka dots), and the head has some brown mixed in.
Very cool bird, and nice job on the taxidermy... Gotta' say though, I would have asked the taxi to check under the hood (or trunk)....
As colored as she is, she must have been one old lady...