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Mixed Flock

Mixed Flock
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-12-29
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): aquatic birds No2 ! [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-01-27 7:06
Viewed: 7119
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Another archive posting from Ethiopia. There are three species in the photograph:- White-Faced Whistling Duck at the front, then two Egyptian Geese and a slightly out offocus Knob-Billed Duck to the right of the geese.

The White-faced Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna viduata, is a whistling duck which breeds in sub-Saharan Africa and much of South America.

This species is gregarious, and at favoured sites, the flocks of a thousand or more birds arriving at dawn are an impressive sight. As the name implies, these are noisy birds with a clear three-note whistling call.

This species has a long grey bill, long head and longish legs. It has a white face and crown, and black rear head. The back and wings are dark brown to black, and the underparts are black, although the flanks have fine white barring. The neck is chestnut. All plumages are similar, except that juveniles have a much less contrasted head pattern.

The habitat is still freshwater lakes or reservoirs, with plentiful vegetation, where this duck feeds on seeds and other plant food.

The Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) is a member of the duck, goose and swan family Anatidae. It is in the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae, and is the only extant member of the genus Alopochen.

This 63–73 cm long species breeds widely in Africa except in deserts and dense forests, and is locally abundant. They are found mostly in the Nile Valley and south of the Sahara. It has also been introduced elsewhere; Great Britain, the Netherlands and Germany have self-sustaining feral populations, the former dating back to the 18th century, though only formally added to the British list in 1971. In Britain, it is found mainly in East Anglia, in parkland with lakes. It was officially declared a pest in the UK in 2009.

This is a largely terrestrial species, which will also perch readily on trees and buildings. It swims well, and in flight looks heavy, more like a goose than a duck, hence the English name.

This species will nest in a large variety of situations, especially in holes in mature trees in parkland. Egyptian Geese usually pair for life.

The sexes of this striking species are identical in plumage, though the males average slightly larger. There is a fair amount of variation in plumage tone, with some birds greyer and others browner, but this is not sex or age related.

Egyptian geese typically eat seeds, leaves, grasses, and plant stems. Occasionally, they will eat locusts, worms, or other small animals.

Egyptian geese were considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians, and appeared in much of their artwork.

The Knob-billed Duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos), or Comb Duck, is an unusual, pan-tropical duck, found in tropical wetlands in sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and south Asia from Pakistan to Laos and extreme southern China. It also occurs in continental South America south to the Paraguay River region in eastern Paraguay, southeastern Brazil and the extreme northeast of Argentina, and as a vagrant on Trinidad.

It is the only known species of the genus Sarkidiornis. The supposed extinct "Mauritian Comb Duck" is based on misidentified remains of the Mauritian Shelduck (Alopochen mauritianus); this was realized as early as 1897 but the mistaken identity can still occasionally be found in recent sources.

This common species is unmistakable. Adults have a white head freckled with dark spots, and a pure white neck and underparts. The upperparts are glossy blue-black upperparts, with bluish and greenish iridescence especially prominent on the secondaries (lower arm feathers). The male is larger than the female, and has a large black knob on the bill. Young birds are dull buff below and on the face and neck, with dull brown upperparts, top of the head and eyestripe.

The adults are unmistakable. Immature Knob-billed Ducks look like a large greyish female of the Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelicus) and may be difficult to tell apart if no other birds are around to compare size and hue. If seen at a distance, they can also be mistaken for a Fulvous Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna bicolor) or a female Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata). The former is more vividly colored, with yellowish and reddish brown hues; the latter has a largely dark brown head with white stripes above and below the eye. However, Knob-billed Ducks in immature plumage are rarely seen without adults nearby and thus they are usually easily identified too.

The Knob-billed Duck is silent except for a low croak when flushed

CeltickRanger, uleko, Dis. Ac., nasokoun, boreocypriensis, horias, goatman04, zulfu, siggi, maurydv, eng55, anemone, Adanac has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

hello James

we are TN neighbors today, beautiful photo of these mixed
Anatidae species, excellent timing to shoot them all in
the same photo, fine low POV, being againts daylight
(en contre-jour) beautiful play of shadows and lights, TFS


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-01-27 7:23]

Hello James,
Very interesting photo of these birds. And I see a Spur-winged Lapwing. Excellent POV, DOF, beautiful colours and very good sharpness.

  • Great 
  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2010-01-27 7:32]

Interesting show here of three varities and the focus on central one showing excellent details.I like the water reflections on the couple creating a glow.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-01-27 7:51]

Hello James,
What a lovely lot of birds posing nicely for you here! Great focus on the Geese and Whistling Ducks and beautiful light and coloiurs. Looks like a lovely place to visit!
TFS and regards, Ulla

Hello James,

Very good picture from these birds and the Egyptian goos e are here an breeding bird.
This birsd population are growing the fastest of all species.
Each year about 17% growing population.
Fine colours have you here.


hello James,
very interesting scene because the coexistence, good contrast and clarity, fine use of light, the result is a very fine photo!
keep photographing! TFS

Hi Bro James,

Stunning capture of this mixed flock of Egypian goose and knob-billed ducks from an interesting and nice low POV with flawless details, great DOF and delightful composition.
TFS and have a nice night!


  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-01-27 12:00]

Hello James
Wonderful capture this White-faced Whistling Duck and Egyptian Goose from amazing Ethiopia!
Great details and colors.

Hello James,

This is an excellent shot with such beautiful coloration, sharpness & natural setting. Well taken, composed & presented. TFS & best wishes.


  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2010-01-27 13:22]

Hello James, splendid shot of these lovely birds with excellent composition, details and colours.
TFS and G's,

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-01-27 13:36]

Hello James.
Very good capture on this Mixed birds.Good color and details with a nice OOF backround. I like the angle, it makes a nice ground level perspective. Nice Shot!
Best regards Siggi

Hello James,
a very beautiful picture of these three (i think that there are four: the fourth species to the right of the two Knob-Billed Ducks) species, i like the different postures of these acquatic birds, splendid colours and superb lighting, excellent POV and composition.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-01-27 14:24]

Hi James,
Very nice scane.Well caught,framed and composed.I liked visual impact a lot.
Thanks for posting..

Hi James. Lovely and precise shot of these two kind of ducks.
Everyting are wonderful.
Thanks for sharing and best regards.

Ciao James, great capture of wonderful family, splendid natural colors and beautiful ambientation, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2010-01-30 9:59]

Hello James,
I have never seen the white-faced whistling duck before so thank you very much for introducing me. The rest of the image is great James, I wish sometimes that we humans could over look differences like waterfowl do.

  • Great 
  • fthsm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 56 N: 512] (3689)
  • [2010-02-06 1:06]

Just like a family photo :)
Great photo even under the harsh sun light. TFS.

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