It has been established that some interspecific hybrids among ducks and geese (Anatidae) strongly resemble one parent or even another species altogether, thus causing problems in field-identification. An extreme case in Britain is the hybrid Pochard Aythya ferina x Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula which can be very difficult to distinguish in the field from the American Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis (Perrins 1961). An example of a hybrid which resemblies one parent is the so-called Paget’s Pochard, the offspring of Pochard x Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca, which, in certain plumages (eclipse and transitional males), is virtually indistinguishable from the Ferruginous Duck except on bill characters (Gillham, Harrison and Harrison 1966). Other instances of this kind are provided by the progeny of (Northern) Shoveler Anas clypeata x Teal Anas crecca and (Eurasian) Wigeon Anas pemlope x Northern Shoveler (Harrison 1953, 1959), in which the bimaculated face-patterns can strongly resemble those of the Baikal Teal Anas for mosa. Recently, a comparable phenomenon has been recognised in an intergeneric hybrid among geese, for the Grey Lag Goose Anser anser x Canada Goose Branta canadensis can produce offspring resembling the blue phase of the Lesser Snow Goose Anser c. caerukscens (Harrison and Harrison 1966). Our purpose now is to point out yet another example of a hybrid between two species which resembles a third species to such an extent that misidentification could easily occur in the field. In recent years Eurasian Wigeon have been hybridising with South American Chiloe Wigeon Anas sibilatrix in St. James’s
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British Birds – how it works
BB 2000 Ltd, the company that owns and publishes British Birds, is run by a board of directors, all of whom are volunteers. The company employs two full time staff – Roger Riddington is the journal’s editor while Hazel Jenner manages subscriptions and administration – and three part-time design/editorial staff.
The company is wholly owned by The British Birds Charitable Trust (BBCT, registered charity no. 1089422). Neither the company directors nor the trustees are paid for their services, providing their time and enthusiasm because they passionately believe in the value of BB. The Company is managed with a view to making a small profit which can be donated to the Trust to help fund its charitable work.
Over the past six years, this, combined with donations from other sources, has enabled the Trust to give almost £40,000 support to a variety of conservation and educational projects ranging from rat eradication on seabird islands to the study of cuckoo migration, as well as assisting young birders develop their interest.
A full list of projects is given here. The Trust is seeking to expand its charitable endeavours and would welcome donations from like-minded organisations and individuals.