This last page documents eclipse plumage changes which happen each year in the male mallards. They change color and look like females to camoflauge themselves from predators.
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This mallard has coloring most often associated with the bird. (I liked the pattern on its back.)
This mallard's neck is starting to change color.
These boys are in the midst of color change.
The front part of the body is starting to change as well as the neck and head.
All four males changing colors at the same time stop for a snooze.
The morphing is nearly complete. Male mallards have yellow bills while females have orange ones which is the means to distinguish between the sexes.
The transition is complete. These are two male mallards.
Mallard on right in eclipse plumage (notice the yellow bill) and one in normal plumage on the left.
I'm thinking perhaps the hormonal changes which result in the male plumage changing to look like a female may have affected this duck. I saw him more than once on this nest. What's even more bizarre is it was a former Canada goose nest.
All photos © S. M. Garver