Toning It Down

This gallery contains 2 photos. In late summer, male ducks shed their often bright iridescent colours for less flashy plumage. This is known as eclipse or non-breeding plumage, and during this period, the guys resemble the girls to a large degree (except for a few choice attributes). Photographed on August 30, 2014, at Piper Spit (Burnaby Lake). This fellow should be easy to identify, if you know what duck species the female belongs to.

WHSIM Wood Duck in Eclipse Plumage

And this one, except for the hint of green, is another common visitor to Vancouver marshes, ponds, and wildlife refuges. Why discard the flashy colours? Well, when the job’s done (and the next generation is on its way or recently arrived), it’s best not to advertise yourself to potential predators.

WHSIM Mallard Duck in Eclipse Plumage

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